Page images

A colliery, drowned.

about it, and the petit magazines, of a marine trade, upon the wharf: and so he reaped the fruits of his great cost and invention; and if, in the whole, the profit did not answer the account, the pleasure of designing and executing, which is the most exquisite of any, did it.

I must not omit one passage, which showed the steady constancy of that gentleman's mind; which was, that, at the beginning of dinner, a servant brought him a letter, wherein was an account of a bag of water which was broke in his greatest colliery. Upon which, folding up the letter, said he, “ My lord, here I have advice sent me of a loss, in a colliery, which I cannot estimate at less than 7000l.; and now you shall see if I alter my countenance or behaviour, from what you have seen of me already." And so fell to discoursing

. of these bags of water, and the methods to clear them, as if the case had been another's, and not his own. He said, his only apprehension was that the water might come from the sea; and “then,” said he, “ the whole colliery is utterly lost: else, with charge, it will be recovered.” Whereupon he sent for a bottle of the water, and, finding it not saline, as from the sea, was well satisfied. Afterwards we inquired if the water was conquered, and we were told it proved not so bad as he expected. For it seems that although 17001. was spent upon engines, and they could not sink it an inch, yet

peace, before.

6001. more emptied it ; so that it had no more than the ordinary springs; and, in about six weeks, he raised coal again. He said that chain pumps were the best engines, for they draw constant and even ; but they can have but two stories of them, the second being with an axle-tree of seven or eight fathom; and the deepest story is wrought by buckets, and a wheel and ropes, with the force at the top The county of Northumberland hath been ex- The Border

commisceedingly infested with thieving of cattle, which sion. is the remains of the Border trade, since the union with Scotland, after the way used, in time of

For as, in Italy, the murderer, running into the next territory, was safe : so here they stole on either side, and the other, under a different jurisdiction, was an asylum. This was so great a mischief that all the considerable farmhouses (the houses of gentlemen were castles of course) were built of stone in the manner of a square tower, with an overhanging battlement, and, underneath, the cattle wera lodged every night. In the upper room the family lodged, and, when the alarm came, they went up to the top, and, with hot water and stones from the battlement, fought in defence of their cattle. The advantage of the union was so great to these countries, that the Lord Grey of Wark's estate, which, before, was not above 10001. per annum,


hath since risen to 7 or 80001., which is, at least, a sixfold improvement. After the union, to prevent this thieving trade, the crown sent commissioners of oyer and terminer, directed to an equal number of English and Scotch, extending to certain limits on each side of the Border; and, being continued, it is therefore called the Border commission. And these meet in their sessions, and hang up at another rate than the assizes ; for we were told that, at one sessions, they hanged eighteen for not

reading sicut clerici. Of the This hath made a considerable reform ; but yet country keeping,

there is need of an officer they call a country and Bedla- keeper, who hath a salary from the country, and

is bound to make good all the stolen cattle, unless found out and restored. When his lordship was there, one Mr. Widdrington was keeper, with 5001. per annum salary. The country is yet very sharp upon thieves; and a violent suspicion, there, is next to conviction. When his lordship held the assizes at Newcastle, there was one Mungo Noble (supposed to be a great thief) brought to trial before his lordship, upon four several indictments; and his lordship was so much a South country judge, as not to think any of them well proved. One was for stealing a horse of a person unknown: and the evidence amounted to no more than that a horse was seen feeding upon

the heath near his shiel (which is a cottage made in

open places of turf and flag), and none could tell who was the owner of it. In short, the man escaped, much to the regret of divers gentlemen, who thought he deserved to be hanged; and that was enough. While the judge, at the trial, discoursed of the evidence and its defects, a Scotch gentleman upon the bench, who was a Border commissioner, made a long neck towards the judge, and "My laird," said he, My laird," said he, "send him to Huzz, and yees neer see him mere." This country was then much troubled with Bedlamers. One was tried before his lordship, for killing another of his own trade, whom he surprised asleep, and, with his great staff, knocked on the head; and then bragged that he had given him "a sark full of sere benes;" that is, a shirt full of sore bones. He would not plead to the country, because there were horsecopers amongst them, till the press was ready; and then he pleaded, and was, at last, hanged. They were a great nuisance in the country, frighting the people in their houses, and taking what they listed: so that a small matter, with the countrymen, would do such a fellow's business.


From Newcastle, his lordship's route lay to Car- Officiouslisle. The Northumberland sheriff gave us all arms; that is, a dagger, knife, pen-knife, and

ness of the Borderers,

* The punishment of the peine forte et dure, abolished by the statute of 12 Geo. III. c. 20.

fork, all together. And because the hideous road along by the Tyne, for the many and sharp turnings, and perpetual precipices, was for a coach, not sustained by main force, impassable, his lordship was forced to take horse, and to ride most part of the way to Hexham. We were showed where coal-mines burnt under ground ; but could discern nothing of it, besides the deadness of all plants there. We were showed the Picts' wall; but it appeared only as a range, or bank of stones all overgrown with grass, not unlike the bank of the Devil's ditch at Newmarket, only without any hollow, and nothing near so big. Here his lordship saw the true image of a Border country. The tenants of the several manors are bound to guard the judges through their precinct; and out of it they would not go, no, not an inch, to save the souls of them. They were a comical sort of people, riding upon negs, as they call their small horses, with long beards, cloaks, and long broadswords, with basket hilts, hanging in broad belts, that their legs and swords almost touched the ground; and every one, in his turn, with his short cloak, and other equipage, came up cheek by jowl, and talked with my lord judge. His lordship was very well pleased with their discourse ; for they were great antiquarians in their own bounds.

We came, at length, to Hexham, formerly a lisle ; and metropolis of a famous shire of that name. From

Of Hexhamn and Car


« PreviousContinue »