Wednesday, October 20 1756

Paid Will Funnell 0.10.8 in money and goods for bricks, tiles and mortar used at Trill’s house for the use of the parish. Gave a man with a pass 2/-…. My brother came over in the afternoon and brought me the mare in order for me to go Framfield upon tomorrow morning. He stayed and drank tea with us. I paid Mr French the 18d borrowed of him last night. At home all day. In the evening read the 71st of Tillotson’s sermons.

As I was this day a-considering of the particulars that passed at the vestry yesterday, I think nothing sinks so deep in my heart as Dame Burrage’s affair, to see a poor woman supplicating our charity with 6 poor helpless children (all small) deserted by a husband (who was well-known to be a more than common industrious man and also one who did not spend his money, but readily and with cheerfulness shared it in his family) and who has been eloped from his family about 10 days. Sure the thought of it must pierce any heart that is not entirely shut up and has bid adieu to all humanity, and so must it more, if we only reflect and consider something great must be the reason to force a man from his beloved family, which undoubtedly has been this poor man’s cause. Many of the richest and leading men of our parish (though I think not the wisest) have long since been endeavoring to pull down the price of this and some more poor men’s wages (though not a man of ’em can say he ever asked more for a day’s work than he earned) by bringing in many poor into the parish from other parishes, some with certificates and some without, until the parish is full of poor, and those wise gentlemen’s scheme almost come to take effect. Here was at this time everything remarkably dear; viz., malt 3/9 and 4/- a bushel; Warwickshire cheese 4¼d a pound; beef and mutton 3d and 3½d a pound; and wheat 5/- a bushel, and nothing but daily expectation of working for small wages (nay, even for less than his due). Now let any of those cunning men, or even any other person, only lay his hand upon his breast and put it to his conscience, and at the same time let his tongue utter the dictates of his heart; then must the following sentence be pronounced: Oh, cruel and inhuman usage, oppression, fraud and grinding the face of the poor are our guilt! Oh, may the annals of future times never record so much barbarity!

[On a separate piece of paper inserted at this point Turner adds:]

NB: I do not any ways commend Burrage for leaving his family, for I think it a very unjust and imprudent thing in him, and more particularly so, as he the night before he went away received of Mr Jeremiah French £3, which he carried away with him. The only thing I endeavor to point out is the motive which has occasioned him to abscond.

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