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THE following little Tract, it is believed, has sufficient merit to claim to be rescued from oblivion. The writer has purposely concealed his name, and it would be fruitless now, perhaps, to search for it under the initials A. L. which appear at the end of the dedication. He tells us, however, that he was born in the county of Durham; was for divers years an attendant of Sir Ralph Assheton (of Great Lever and Whalley) in Lancashire ; and, at the time of his writing, in 1629, was a poor bachelor, without land or estate, and then resident, apparently, at no great distance from the city of Durham. His “rusticke stile” requires, indeed, some apology, for the parenthetical structure of his sentences occasionally offers some impediment to the sense; yet he was evidently, in some degree, a scholar, and a man of reading. His intention in writing this Discourse, was to set forth, in an earnest manner, the Abuses he lamented to witness in his native county and the kingdom in general, which he classes under four heads, namely, the waste of woods,-the pulling down of castles and fortresses, the decay of martial discipline,—and the vanities of the people, in drinking, smoking, and apparel. His remarks under each head have a certain interest, particularly in regard to the partial destruction of Raby Castle, (sacrificed for the sake of the lead, iron, and stone, as, in the last century, the castles of Hurstmonceux, in Sussex, and Pencoed, in Monmouthshire, have been,) and to the changes and extravagancies of fashion. His work is dedicated to the Rt. Rev. Richard Hunt, Dean of Durham, whom he calls “for authoritie, dignitye, learning and
vertues, the prime ornament and glory of our countye,” yet, notwithstanding this praise, all that is known of the Dean may be summed up in a few lines. Whether he was the same with the Richard Hunt of Trinity college, Cambridge, 1608, who in 1619 was incorporated as M.A. at Oxford, is uncertain (Wood, Fasti Owon. ed. Bliss, vol. i. col. 391); but he appears to have been Rector of Folsham, in Norfolk, from 1594 to 1620, and Rector of Tyrington, in the same county, from 1609 to the time of his death. He is stated also to have been Chaplain to King James, and in 1613 was made Prebendary of Canterbury. (Kennet's Notes, MS. Lansdowne 984, f. 251.) In 1620 Sir Adam Newton resigned the Deanery of Durham “for a certain sum of money,” and thereupon, says Bishop Kennet, Dr. Hunt was installed, 29 May, 1620. He died 28 November, 1638, and beyond these meagre dates, his Epitaph, in the cathedral at Durham, as recorded by Willis and Hutchinson, furnishes his chief panegyric. It was inscribed, says the latter, “on a tablet of wood, fixed to the adjoining pillar, which not being esteemed ornamental, was taken down, and thrown into the vestryroom”! (Hist. of Durham, vol. ii. p. 54.) It read as follows: Hic jacit orborumque pater viduaoque maritus Foelix qui proprio fovit utrosque sinu. Spes columenque inopum, pes claudis, lumina coecis, Hospitium exulibus, praesidium miseris. Cur tabulas rogites? legat bona nulla supremis, Quod semper solitus non moriturus agit 2 In promptu ratio est, donaverat omnia vivens, Scilicet et tandem non habet unde daret. It only remains to be added, that this Discourse is printed from a MS. in the British Museum, acquired in the year 1850, (Additional, 18,147), and which appears to be the original copy presented to the Dean of Durham.
F. MADDEN. British Museum, 27 November, 1854.
To the Right Reverend, and wor" RICHARD HUNT, Doctour of Divinitie, Deane of Durham, & one of his ma" Justices of peace and Quorum within the Countie of Durhame, the Author of this ensuing Discourse wisheth all externall, internall, and etermall happines.
Right Reverend and Worshipfull:
The tender affection and earnest desire of benefitting (and doing service to) my poore native Country (this Bishoprick of Durham), and yo' good Wor", hath encouraged and embouldened mee to offer and present to yo' favourable regard this homely and unpolisht Discourse which ensueth, (and the rather, for you are for authoritie, dignitye, learning and vertues, the prime ornament and glory of our Countye,) but my judgement being so weake, and my Discourse so replenished w” imperfections, I am affraid to preferre such a meane worke to so worthy a gentleman, least (insteade of cherishing) yo" should reject it, as frivolous and needelesse. But (worthie Sir) my hopes are so strengthened with the generall good report of yo" honourable disposión, and great curtesie, that I nothing despaire to obtaine yo' pardon and favourable acceptance of my vertuous endevote, (albeit there be founde small worth in mee, more then * a thirsting desire of doing well,) which (in yo' Wor" abundant clemencie) may supply for the action. The subject of my Discourse is drawne from consideračán of the Abuses and wronge, w" (as I conceive) are offred to the Comónwealth (which I can scarce remember without inexprimable heart griefe, nor write upon without floode of teares); if therefore passion swaie me, or simplicitie drawe mee to committ any errours, let (I besech yo") yo' hono” disposión & grave wisedome be pleased to connive thereat; seeing yo'selfe (and none else) is onely the supervisor thereof. My purposes and entente are vertuous, and chiefely aime at the glorie of Almightie God, and the benefitt of my Countrie; as yo' Wors may the bett" discerne by perusing the same. I know right well, that none can write any discourse which smelleth of reprehension, but that hee shalbe carped at, & hated of all those whose consciences are conscious of errours; and albeit that I am placed in such a lowe degree, that none can envy mine estate, yet (so strongly are men rooted in malice) that if they (whome I touch afar off) come but to a knowledge of my writinge, they will seeke utterly to suppresse and confounde mee; for the preventing wherof, I am forced, not onely to implore your good Wor" ptection, but that the concealinge of my name (for the present) maie be nothing offensive to yo' Wor", seing I am here present in pson, to shew both it and my place of habitaôn (and in like sort to subscribe my name to my worke), if I shalbe thereunto required. And my humble request (to yo" Wor") is, that yo" wilbe pleased onely to peruse, & consider of these Abuses yo" selfe, and not suffer my poore & meane endevours to be divulged; and that (also) by yo' grave wisedome, authoritie, & learning, (or by the exciting of some learned Pen,) you will, as farre as in you resteth, helpe to reforme all (or so many) of these things, as shall appeare (or be thought) Abuses; and that my insufficiencie of learning, ignorance, or imperfections may not hinder yo' favourable acceptance of the worke. And thus beseeching Almightie God to continue and encrease your good Wor" health and happynes, and to grant such good successe to my poore endevours, as may best stand won his hono', and the good of my Countrie, humbly submitting my selfe & writings to yo' worthie regard, I take my leave; resting this 26th day of December, 1629,
* For than, as elsewhere throughout this treatise. CAMD. SOC. B
A RELACON OF ABUSES.
For ASMUCH as the preservačón of the Comónwealth, (next to the service of God), is (and ought to be) the prime and principall scope of all our actions and endevore, I should thinke my selfe unworthie the name of a man, if I had the strength of Hercules, or so happy an invention, and psuasive oratorie, as that fountaine of eloquence Cicero had, if I should not consume all my force, wise.dome, & endevours, (and consequently sacrifice my dearest blood, and life,) for the benefitt thereof. But mine invention being so barren, my stile so poore, and my oratorie so weake, I am constrayned (in steade of invention) to breath out hearty sighes (for wordes), to use wayling, and (for writing) to wring my hande, (yea, and distaine the paper w" my teares, woo I should write upon wo my pen,) when I behold the wretched face & forme of this (late) unparallelld & religious County (wherein I had my first breath and breedinge) so pittyfully eclipsed wih imperfections, and metamorphosed from the happie estate wo" it formerly enjoyed. And yet (mee thinkes) discretion tells mee, that my vanity were as grosse on the one side, as my pious zeale and earnest affection (of the felicitie thereof) can be praiseworthie on the other side, if I should persist in lamentačns; for some may say, “Quid tibi cum republica 2 cur te sollicitas 2 why doest thou vex thy selfe 2 thou hast neither lande nor livings, wife nor children to take care for; neither canst thou loose any earthly possessions or estate; nihil est, nihil deest; onely thy life is (as it seemeth) the chiefest thinge wo" thou woldest preserve; and if it be so, (yet know that all men must dye,) cast thy care upon him who is alwaies