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The Blasphemous Troops

Tuesday, October 8.—I wrote to general Husk as follows:

“A surly man came to me this evening, as he said, from you. He would not deign to come upstairs to me, nor so much as into the house; but stood in the yard till I came, and then obliged me to go with him into the street, where he said, ‘You must pull down the battlements of your house, or tomorrow the General will pull them down for you.’

“Sir, to me this is nothing. But I humbly conceive it would not be proper for this man, whoever he is, to behave in such a manner to any other of his Majesty’s subjects, at so critical a time as this.

“I am ready, if it may be for his Majesty’s service, to pull not only the battlements, but the house down; or to give up any part of it, or the whole, into your Excellency’s hands.”

Saturday, 26.—I sent Alderman Ridley the following letter:

Sir,--The fear of God, the love of my country, and the regard I have for his Majesty King George, constrain me to write a few plain words to one who is no stranger to these principles of action.

“My soul has been pained day by day, even in walking the streets of Newcastle, at the senseless, shameless wickedness, the ignorant profaneness, of the poor men to whom our lives are entrusted. The continual cursing and swearing, the wanton blasphemy of the soldiers in general, must needs be a torture to the sober ear, whether of a Christian or an honest infidel. Can any that either fear God, or love their neighbor, hear this without concern? especially if they consider the interest of our country, as well as of these unhappy men themselves. For can it be expected that God should be on their side who are daily affronting Him to His face? And if God be not on their side, how little will either their number, or courage, or strength avail?

“Is there no man that careth for these souls?  Doubtless there are some who ought so to do. But many of these, if I am rightly informed, receive large pay and do just nothing.

“I would to God it were in my power, in any degree, to supply their lack of service. I am ready to do what in me lies to call these poor sinners to repentance, once or twice a day (while I remain in these parts), at any hour, or at any place.  And I desire no pay at all for doing this; unless what my Lord shall give at His appearing.

*               *                   *                     *

Having myself no knowledge of the General, I took the liberty to make this offer to you. I have no interest herein; but I should rejoice to serve, as I am able, my King and country. If it be judged that this will be of no real service, let the proposal die and be forgotten. But I beg you, Sir, to believe that I have the same glorious cause, for which you have shown so becoming a zeal, earnestly at heart; and that therefore I am, with warm respect,


“Your most obedient servant.”

Sunday, 27.—I received a message from Mr. Ridley that he would communicate my proposal to the General and return me his answer as soon as possible.

Having now delivered my own soul, on Monday, November 4, I left Newcastle. Before nine we met several expresses, sent to countermand the march of the army into Scotland; and to inform them that the rebels had passed the Tweed and were marching southward.

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