Friday, February 3 1758

In the morning my brother Moses came over to stand the shop for me. And about 7:50 myself, John Watford and Robert Hook (he being headborough) went to take up the late servant of Mr Thomas Osborne in order for her to swear the child she was delivered of the 4th ult. When we came to the house of Thomas Lewer where this girl lay in, we found her just gone, having received intelligence of our intentions. Master Hook and I went down to Rippington’s, calling at Page’s and Martin’s as we went and taking Richard Page with us. We left John Watford at Lewer’s. After we had stayed at Rippington’s about 2 hours to quench that insatiable thirst I last night contracted (and instead of allaying it, rather had increased the intenseness of the heat), John Watford came and informed us he had heard she was at Paris’s, where we immediately went and took her. We walked back to Thomas Lewer’s, where John Watford took her up behind him and carried her to Uckfield, Master Hook and myself walking.

We arrived at Uckfield about 3:50 where we were presently met with by Thomas Osborne, son of the supposed father of this child, who promised if the [paternity of the] child was not sworn, he would give the parish an indemnifying bond with his father on Sunday next, which I agreed to upon condition that he would deposit a sum of money in my hands sufficient to defray all expenses we had already been at with her, or should be, till the bond was signed, which he almost as soon complied with as I proposed.

We then went up to Mr Courthope’s, Mr Hook to be sworn into his office of headborough, and I to inquire about pressing [impressment into the services]. Mr Courthope swore Master Hook and informed me that if we had any men between the ages of 17 and 45, 5 feet 4 inches without shoes, that worked at [with?] their own hands or had no visible employment, we must bring them into the sitting at Maresfield on Monday next, or we would be liable to a be fined. We also asked his advice about our affair, who said the best way would be to swear her, though I cannot see for what except the helping of his servant to two shillings. However, in compliance with his opinion we had her sworn; she swore the father of her child to be Thomas Osborne Sr. I accordingly took out a warrant to take him up.

We dined at Mr Halland’s at the Maiden Head on a shoulder of mutton roasted (my family at home dining on a piece of beef boiled and turnips). Master Hook and I came home as far as his brother Jenner’s. It was very dark, rained, and I pretty much in liquor; so I thought it most prudent to go no farther, but stay all night, which I did and sent Master Hook home. But oh, fie upon my weak and feeble resolutions and also upon my bad conduct! Sure it is impossible for me to leave this almost worst of vices. Let me once more try and now begin again. My brains are so weak that almost the sight of a glee of anything except water destroys my reason.

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