William Goodwin of Street Farm, Earl Soham.

Diaries dated from 1785-1810. Vol. 3.. HD 365/3.

Transcribed by Mrs. J. Rothery of Earl Soham, August 2001

The following Miscellany of Occurrences Persons and Curiosities was began in the Year 1785 by Wm. Goodwin of Earl Soham Surgeon and is intended as an Universal repository and Chronology.

Extract for 1796

Jan 10th 1796 The weather hitherto, very mild and open - To day quite warm and beautifully fine - Gentlemen at Church, and riding out without great Coats - Wheats and grass putting on a new face and every thing looking more like Spring than Winter -

20th Wind almost all this quarter has been S & SW Weather uncommonly mild, not one cold day yet; but has generally been finer and warmer than in last June -

The King and all his family have set the example to eat no other Bread, than that made with one third of barly flour - Both Houses of Parliament have sign’d a resolution to do the same and it is now

universally adopted in most families throughout this kingdom, being recommended from all the Pulpits by order of Governm’t to lessen the consumption of Wheat of Wh. only 2 parts are allow’d out of 3

All the united Provinces in Holland contain only 1-796-000 Souls…

Jan’y 1796 The Princess of Wales was safely deliver’d of a Daughter, with wh. she went exactly 39 weeks.

Mark Lane Wheat and all grains have fallen in price in consequence of several large arrivals -




80-103 pr quart’r



T. Beans




Red Clover seed

90-134 Pr. Hund.


Kent - 4 Gs to 5. 5. 0 Cw’t

Stocks The 3 pr Cents Consol. Have chiefly stood at 67 & 68

Jan’y 1796 A cessation of Hostilities between the French and Austrians on the banks of the Rhine… (1/2 page)

24th The wind still S. and weather remarkably warm - By the Therm’r the longest day last June was 20 deg. Colder, than the shortest day last Decemb’r.

31st Weather still fine and warm; no Winter hitherto; but a general appearance of vegetation, with singing of birds like May or June.

The Yellow Fever, is still destroying our men in the West Indies…(1/2 page)

Jan 1796 Grenada is taken by ye French and all the Islands in great danger.

Calonne late prime Minister of France, has published an acc’t stating the circulating specie now in France at 80 Millions Sterl’g…

Jan’y 25th 1796 West India Fleet sail’d a second time on the 9th of Dec’r loaded with Horse and foot and all manner of stores… (1 page)

Jan’yth 1796 The incorporated Hund’s of Wilford and Loes, erected their House at Melton about 30 years since, to build and furnish which, they borrow 9000£s - Their rates originally amounted to something more than 2000£s pr. Annum - by good management the Directors lessen’d the debt 3000£. By a reverse they again increas’d it to nearly 10-000£ - A new Direction succeeded ye old one in 1791, which obtain’d a new Act to raise the Rates one third, making the Annual income 2800£. It was expected with their increase to pay off all incumbrances; the reverse has taken place, and an extraordinary demand has been made on the two Hundreds to treblethe last Rate making the yearly receipts at Melton House the enormous Sum of 8000£s - The Poor now live much worse than they did formerly and are now eating Bread made with one third Barly.

Two millions and a half are to be paid ye Danes and Swedes for ships and Cargoes taken and loaded with wheat etc during the last 2 years -

Feb 1796 The King and Queen were grossly insulted returning from the Play, by a lawless abandon’d mob, who pelted their carriage with mud, stones and brickbats;…

A kind of Proclaimation has been read by order of Government in all the Churches, recommending the People on Acc’t of the scarcity of Wheat to lessen its consumption, by either taking out only 5 pounds of Bran from a bushel, or mixing one third of Barly or other grain, with wheat for bread; wishing no pudding or pie crust should be made use of

A Member in the House recommending a Tax on Dogs, said 50 Thousand Sheep were annually kill’d by them in this Kingdom, beside the mischief they did, by the canine madness and consuming the necessaries of Life -

Barracks are building all over England for Horse and Foot Soldiers … (1/2 page)

National Debt in 1776 was 130 millions Interest then 4 Do.

Debt in 1796 360 mill’s Inter’t annual 13 mill’s

Increase in Debt in last 20 y’s 230 mill’s Do of Annual Int’t in Do. 9 Do.

Ld. North expended in the first 4 years of the American war less than - 50 millions

Mr Pitt expended in the first 4 years of this accursed French War more than one Hundred millions -

Some Jews in London publish’d a French Paper, purporting its coming from France, including an article of the conditions of Peace, agreed on between Austria and France…

The Slave Trade has again been brought by Mr. Wilberforce, before Parliament, a strong debate ensu’d on its Abolition, when the majority were in favour of this horrid and abominable Trafic…

Our Army is now two years in Arears The Prince of Wales’s household - 34 yrs Do and ye King’s Do - one year and a half

The Weather has been remarkably mild and warm ‘till the 28th Feb’y when the wind chang’d to ye NE with frost and sleet - It has continued pretty sharp ‘till the 8th March, with Snow 2 inches deep and much colder than any time before this winter.

A large Dutch fleet of men of war and frigates sail’d suppos’d for the E. Indies - intelligence of their sailing was communicated by our frigates in 32 hours from the mouth of ye Texel to ye Downs and in 4 minutes and a half to London by the Telegraphs -

Our Government have borrow’d of the Bank 12 Millions without the consent of Parliament…

March 1796 Another Fast was order’d to petition God for success in this abominable war; calling it a just and necessary one "what a mockery of true Religion!

A Roman Catholic Bishop gave a fast Dinner, consisting of 72 good dishes, without violating the tenets of His Religion or hurting his conscience -

April 1796 Most of the Dutch Spice Islands are taken by the English, without much resistance, They being incapable of making it -

The 27th of March, the ground was cover’d with Snow, and the air very cold -

An Eeel was was caught at Maldon in Essex, that measur’d 5 feet 6 Inches long, 17 inches round and weighing 26 pounds; the largest ever known in this country -

The Bank of England has refus’d by public advertisement to discount the most unexceptionable merchants’ drafts or bills of exchange only on the most limited plan having advanc’d immense Sums to Government and sent 18 Millions to the Continent and as Subsidies etc etc is suppos’d to be the Cause of this resolution

The Yearly depredations made in London are stated as follows

In small Thefts £710-000

Pewter pots £55-000 … (1/3rd page)

March The French have taken from Jan. 1793 to Dec’r 1795 from all the Allies…

(1/3rd page)

The number of places of profit in the gift of the Crown are stated at 41-607, ‘no wonder then at Its power and support from the Clergy and the Houses of Parliam’t.

Mark Lane

March 29th

March 1st



Pr. Quart’r





Pr. Quart’r











The Corn Merchants and Millers have lost heavy sums by Their stocks on hand in consequence of the great drop in the price of Grain This has been effected by the great importations in consequence of the high bounty of 10 shillings pr. Comb allow’d for wheat; and other grains in proportion - The largest quantities have been brought in ever known.

Rice is coming in constantly in the Indiamen from the East - many Ships are wholly laden with it which has reduc’d the price of that most excellent grain from 5d to 3d and in some places to 2d pr. Pound - one pound of Rice stew’d in water will be increas’d to six pounds and when mix’d with meal or flower improves and cheapens the bread -

Mar 1796 Madam Banti a favorite Italian Lady is now singing at the Opera at the rate of 4500 Guineas for the Season, which at 10/ pr. Week would maintain comfortably 3000 people -

Navy and Commanders…(1/3rd page)

We have taken from France since the commencement of the War,… (1/3rd page)

Insurance to the E. Indies and back…

Ap. 1796 Another Wine Duty the same as that last year 11£ pr. Pipe or 6d a bottle - all the stocks on hand, belonging to importers and retailers were all taken by surprise; which requisition amounted to about 360-000£s - a bottle of wine now costs 3/6 a pipe 67£ - but little is now drank and unless a reduction of the Duty taken place, the Trade is ruin’d most of the little Taverns laying down their Licences for want of customers - supposing the consumption 60-000 pipes this new duty will raise about 600-000£s pr. Annum - 24 millions of bottles are drank in great Britain Pr. Annum or 66-000 a day - It now costs the consumer of It from a Tavern about 3d1/2 every glass -

Another Loan of 7 millions and a half… (includes tax on dogs)

Lottery for 1796 was taken by Hammersley & Co at £15.12s.0d pr. Ticket, Clears Government upwards of 270-000

April The Yellow Fever still rages in the west Indies…

April 14th 1796 Italy The Campaign open’d here after an Armistice of many weeks -… (1/2 page)

The celebrated French Diamond call’d the Regent was sold in Prussia and paid for by 10-000 Horses to mount their cavalry against the Germans -

Ap. 1796 Taxes for the last Year netted - for customs and Excise…(1/3 page)

Mark Lane May 9th 1796


54-76 pr. Quart’r





Boil. Peas






Apr. 1796 Total Land Forces amount to 154 Regiments…

Generals - Colonels and Majors call’d the Staff to command the above amount in No. to 1944…

May 1796 The King Dissolv’d ye Parliament and went to the House, in a State Coach new moddel’d, being fitted up and surrounded, with Copper, Sheets, buffiloe Hides, and stuff’d with wool to render It musket-proof, to protect His Majesty from the rage of His Subjects in the Capital, of the Kingdom.

The French drive all before them in Italy… (2/3rd page)

The National Debt is now said to be 440 millions Ster.g… (2/3 page)

The Bank of England at most cannot possess or hold more than two millions, (perhaps not more than one)… (1/3rd page)

June 1st 1796 The Armistice ceas’d, and the Campaign open’d on the Rhine between the French and Austrians…

The Powers engag’d in this villainous - War against France, are England - Austria - Prussia…

27th Leghorn was taken by the French and an immense, british property, both public…

May 1796 The contested Election for the County of Kent cost Honeywood the loosing candidate 30-000£…

Wheat Imported and sold at Mark Lane from Xmas to the 27th June 1796 was no less than 186-000 Quarters at a bounty of 186-000£s Sterling

English Wheat sold in the above time and place was no more than 87-000 Quarters -

Whitbread the first Porter Brewer in the world died this month leaving a million of money and property to His Son and relatives - The Brewery alone is valu’d at 500-000£

In 1796

Whitbread brew’d

202.000 Barrels of Porter

Thrale Do


Schum Do


Hanbury Do


Goodwin Do


June 15th More carnage on the Rhine between the French and Austrians;…

The King of Naples calls on his People to rise in a Mass, to oppose the French… (2/3rd page)

The French Ecclesiastical Establishment before the Revolution was - 18 Arch - Bishops…

Uncultivated lands in England, Wales and Scotland amount to 22 millions of Acres valu’d at Pr. Annum when first into Tilage and Culture 8-000-000 £s

July 1796 The French still continue to drive the Austrians before them in Germany…

July 1796 The Dutch have lost not only the Cape of Good Hope, but all their Spice Islands…

Our finances are daily getting worse and worse - The Army is many Quarters in arear - The King’s Serv’ts have not been paid for a year and a half; a petition was given to His Majesty by one of ‘em stating the great Distress of Themselves, families and Tradesmen in consequence thereof - Mr Pitt was sent to the Bank to borrow 200-000£ to pay them one quarter’s Salary. How long will this bubble last, of issuing Paper to an immence amount, without funds to pay it off? (The question mark in the diary is the other way around).

July 1796 Mark Lane

Wheat from

60-82 pr Quarter



Tick beans




It surprises every one that Wheat holds so high a price notwithstanding the immence quantity constantly imported and the immediate prospect of plentifull and abundant Harvest, nothing can explain it, but the enormous increase of Paper money, thrown on the market, as a general barter in consequence of the rapid increase of the National Debt Wh. likewise accounts for the high price of every thing else as it plainly does not arise from a scarcity of the Things we buy, and They regularly and constantly keep advancing. Shop Cheese 7½ pr lb. Very coarse soft sugar 10d Do formerly 4d.

August 12th 1795 Wheat Harvest is generally began and promises to be very abundant, as does Peas beans Oats and Barly - our Country never had a more flourishing appearance respecting its general produce -

21 Mark Lane

Wheat from

50-60 pr. Quarter



Tick beans






American Cure for Rheumatism. Two cloves of Garlick and one drachm of Gum. Ammoniacum bruise and mix into 3 Colusses (?) with a little water. Take one night and morning, drinking plentifully of strong Sassafras Tea.

Weather uncommonly fine for getting in the Harvest more than half our wheats are secur’d - New glean’d Wheat at Mill on ye 19th

Aug’st 20th 1796 Bottl’d off 40 gallons of Burton Ale - had 14 doz and sold 3 doz.

England has a greater number of ships of war than ever known…

A Negro Woman Died in Jaimaica this year at the amazing age of 137 years.

Mr Hammond sent by our Ministers for the purpose of sounding the French Directory (or Five Kings) respecting Peace, was refus’d treating with - The King of Prussia…

Aug’st 1796 Early in this month the Emperor made His grand and last push against the French… (1/2 page)

Buonaparte was bred up to the practice of Physic… (1/2 page)

So intimidated are ye Austrians at the name of the French…

Louis the 18th calling Himself King of France, was shot at in the Town of Ulm…

Aug 1796 The French under Jourdan literally Hunt the Austrians in Germany… (2/3rd page)

The Emperor is leaving Germany to its fate and retreating with the scatter’d remains of his army into Bohemia -…

The greatest number of Ships have arriv’d from the West Indies…

Aug’st 1796 Thirteen Thousand Ships have enter’d and sail’d from the river Thames…

Our late Ally the King of Spain has join’d His fleet with that of France… (1/2 page)

The Lord Steward of ye King’s Household was convicted in…

Aug’st 1796 Rice has been imported in such abundance from the E. Indies and America, that the finest kinds are selling at 20 shill’gs per Cwt. And down to 2/6 pr Do for such as is damag’d - very good for 16/ pr Hund.

Mr Pitt’s late Tax on wines from Wh he expected to raise 6000-000£s…

Sir Ric’d Hill entertain’d ye late (?) older with bunches of Grapes weigh. 20 lbs each, from ye Syrian Vine

Aug’st 1796 The Yellow Fever or Plague, continues to rage in the West India Island… (1 page) (details of military losses)

Barracks are building near or in all our principal Towns, at an amazing Expence. Large Houses are bought in the heart of the Cities and Towns to convert into a kind of fortress for troops;…(1/2 page)

Aug’st 1796 The French and Austrians fight and kill Thousands almost daily -.. (1/2 page)

Aug’st 21st 1796 The Stocks have felt a great depression in Consequence of the Success of the French, the approaching war with Spain and the great want of Money -

The 3 pr. Cents Consol. have been done as low as 53 & ½ and 54 which was the price They stood at in the American War for some time. This stock a little before the commencement of this was up to 99 and a frac.

The Internal defence of Great Britain, is compos’d of 150-000 soldiers…

Trade with Holland…

Portugal is threatened by France with a Conquest and to be added to the Spanish Dominions…

The late Stadtholder’s Palace in the Wood, suppos’d one of the most elegant …

The Batavian nation (late Dutch) have pass’d a Law, annihilating the former established Religion…

Sept’r 1796 Spanish Embargo. All our Ships in Spanish ports…

21st Our Government have order’d all Ships belonging to Spain to be captur’d and brought into England - several are already taken -

25th Newfoundland. The French have landed 3000 Men…

Sept’r 29th 1796 The new Parliament was summon’d to meet this day; …The King’s Speech profess’d a wish for Peace and an intention of sending an Ambassador to Paris… (1/2 page)

Oct 1796 After beging leave of the French Directory Lord Malmesbury was sent to Paris to propose terms of Peace -

Sept 1796 The Austrians have been driving and beating the French, back almost to the Rhine…

The French have been beating and driving ye Austrians almost out of Italy…

Sept. 7th Spain formally declar’d War against England and has sent a capital fleet of Men of War into the Mediterranean to repel the pretended Invasion.

Mr Pitt propos’d a requisition of 20.000 Horse to be rais’d… (details of how they are to be raised)

Likewise 60-000 militia in addition to the 30-000 now in Arms to be immediately balloted for - Likewise 15.000 Men for the Navy to be hir’d by the parishes. Do. To call out all licens’d Gamekeeps to be embodied as rifle men or sharp shooters amounting to 7000 - These Requisitions were all agreed to and will fall heavily on the different parishes.

Nov Bottl’d off 9 doz of London Porter

10th Mark Lane

Wheat has kept falling since Mic’s (Michaelmas?) down to 54 pr Quarter

Is now from

40 to 56

Barly from


Tick beans




Hops best Kent wholesale 1s pr lb Suffolk Butter by Dairy 46s pr Firkin and flet Cheese as high as 60s pr weigh

Butter by the pint here 1/

Cheshire Cheese 8d a pound

Stocks 3 pr Cent. Consol 56 -

The Parliament have agreed to fund 14 millions of Navy and Exchequer Bills, wh. of course is added to the National Debt -

Government Expences for the last Year were 26 Millions Sterling.

The interest made ye holders of Navy bills before they were fund’d…

A large Dutch squadron of nine Men of War and frigates… (1/2 page)

Nov’r 1796 All the Dutch Spice Islands excepting Batavia are taken…

Mr Pitt going to the Lord Mayor’s Feast was pelted with med and stones - Foxe’s Carriage was drawn by the Populace -

More Carnage. The French after 8 days successive fighting in Italy…

In Germany The Austrians were severely beaten…

30th Severe Weather - French and Austrians still fighting like Divils…

Nov 30th 1796 Wind W. very cold - Blows and freezes very hard -

Dec’r 1st ground cover’d with snow

2nd....Very sharp frost - Boys sliding

3rd....Do. - Men Skaiting

4th....Do Do

5th....Do Do

6th....Do. Therm’r 8 Deg. Below Frees’g

7th....Sharp frost

8th....Thaw with rain

9th....Very sharp Frost - the ground cover’d with one continu’d sheet of solid Ice - The worst travelling ever seen

10th....Wind W. more Snow, very Cold

11th....Sharp frost

12th....Mild - and a general Thaw Rain or soft air till the

22nd....Smart Frost

23rd....Hard Do.

24th....Snow ancle deep

25th....Ther. 16 deg. Below freez.

26th....Do. 8 deg. Do.

27th....Very sharp wind and Frost

28th....Do. Do.

The remaining Days of Dec’r moist and as warm as June

Budget for 1797 - Supply…

Loan by voluntary public subscription borrow’d at 5.12.6 pr Cent…

New Taxes

10 pr. Cent on all Teas above 2/ a lb

£ 24-000

10 pr. Cent on Coffee - Cocoa etc


3d in £ additional duty on Auctions


Do. On bricks


Do. on Spirits at 5d pr Gallon


Licences of Scot’h Distiller’ys



2/6 pr Cent on Sugar


2/6 pr Do on Pepper


10 pr Cent on Iron.Brimstone


5 pr Cent on all other Customs, Prize Goods, wine and Coals


1/1d pr Thousand on Bricks etc


Assess’d Taxes

A new House Tax, Dogs and increase of Horse Duty


New receipt Stamp Duty


Increase postage of Letters


1d pr Mile on Stage Coaches


1d stamp on Parcels book’d


New duty on Canal Navig’n




The above ways and means are said to be short of ye Sum really wanted for 1797 at least one million - the above enormous Sum when doubl’d on ye Consumer will amount to more than 4 millions

1796 Made a very pleasant Tour with Mrs Goodwin and my Son William to Bury Fair - Newmarket Races and Cambridge - we set off on ye 14th of Oct’r were out 5 Days, and cost for ourselves and Horse 5.0.0.

Total of Navy and Exchequor Bills…

New Taxes rais’d on ye People to support a fatal war -


1793 (1st year )


1794 2nd Do


1795 3rd Do


1796 4th Do




of course four millions and upwards are added to the Annual burdens of the People, exclusive of Sums now wanted, wh. tis said will increase the above to 6 millions beside the new fashionable requisitions for Parishes to find sailors and soldiers etc etc

Catharine Empress of Russia died at Petersburgh Nov’r 17 1796 of an apoplexy… (1 page)

London Bill of Mortality for the last year…

Paul ye 1st Emp. Of Russia immediately after ye death of his mother, order’d his murder’d father Peter to be taken from his Coffin…(1/2 page)

Dec’r 25th 1796 Our Ambassador at Paris after various manauvres between Him and the French Minister… (almost whole page)

Stocks in consequence of the above, have fallen as low as in the American War - 3 pr. Cent Cons. As low as 53, and the Bonus of the new Loan at 5 pr. Cent loss.

The new Emp’r Russia…

Dec’r 24th 1796 Invasion of Ireland. A very large fleet of French Men of War… (almost 2 pages)