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 1798

Jan 1798 The Invasion of England by France is now become a serious question - Her immense power, great preparations for ye purpose per inveteracy and having no other Enemy make the nation tremble - our Gov’t are providing all manner of means by Sea and Land to oppose Them; are numbering all the people fit to bear arms from 15 to 60 years old, who are by this new requisition to be call’d out in case of the Enemy Landing. All our Forces are in motion and our fleets on ye look out in almost daily expectation of Their coming

1798 Newspaper cutting of Assessed Taxes - Table of Rate of Payment by virtue of an act of 38th George III… (?Evening Post, London dated Saturday February 10, 1798. Cost of paper three halfpence)

Nov 1797 First Budget for 1798 - Mr Pitt inform’d the House He should want 25 millions 12 of wh. He propos’d to raise by Loan - 3 to be borrow’d of the Bank to be repaid in August - 7 millions to be rais’d on the People within the year, by increasing all the assess’d duties (or taxes)in proportional quantities to be collected every 2 months - The remainder to be rais’d by Consolidated fund etc etc -

This new Scheme is to avoid increasing the funded Debt already so enormous and wh. Mr Pitt confesses will bear no addition, cantingly lamenting its weight, and the impropriety of the System, after having himself added Two Hund. Millions to it in the last 4 years. This new assess’d Tax Bill was passed after 7 weeks debate and great opposition. No. of Houses assessable to the new Tax is about 700,000 not assessable on acc’t of their poverty about 700-000 of Course half the people only are ameinable to It, and as by far the greater No. of Those will pay to It, only in very small proportions the higher Classes will have to bear its principal burden; Keepers of Coaches, Chaises - Livery Ser’ts and pleasure Horses are in all Cases to pay 3 times as much for each as They now do (exclusive of their old payment) making together for a Coach about 34£ - a one horse chaise 17£ - a saddle Horse 4g - a Livery Ser’vt 5£ - If all the Assess’d Taxes paid before this new addition amounted to 25£, and under 30£ on an Individual his new addition will be 3 rates and a half - If 30£ and under 40£ pr. Annum

If any man is assess’d to the new Rate more than one 10th of His income, He may be reduc’d to that proportion by appealing to Commissioners and exposingall his Debts and incumbrances; wh. remedy in many cases will be worse than the Evil The minister calculates 5 to a House, of course about 3 millions and a half of people, will be paid for by about 700-000 Masters of families The remaining half are admitted to be too poor for Taxation any further - What with appealing leaving houses on acc’t of this new and high impost and the total inability of many to pay it at all, Mr Pitt will find his 7 millions very deficient indeed

The old assess’d Taxes produc’d about 200-000£ pr. Ann. There are 140-000 Houses in Eng’d under 60(?)£ a yr. Income to pay no new Assessments.

Voluntary Contributions to support the war are the present fashion - Books are open’d at the Bank.

The Bank subscrib’d 200.000£

The King 20-000

Mr Peele a Manufac’y at Man’chtr 20-000

His first partner 15-000

His 2nd Do 10-000

Marq. Of Buckingham his annual pension

As teller of Ex. 12-000

Ld. Chancellor annual 6-000

Those great Lords in the sunshine of the Court are coming forward with parts of their Salaries and pensions

Many put Their names down from one to four Thos.£

The Army and Navy are likewise coming forward both Officers and Common Men

after all the sum total rais’d by Voluntary Subscriptions at Home and abroad amounted to upwards of one million and a half notwithstanding wh. this new assessment was was given up for a Tax on Income.

Cultivated Land in South Britain and Wales

For Wheat annually

3.800-000 acres

Barly and Rye Do.


Oats and beans Do.


Clover, Rye Grass etc Do


Roots and Cabbages (by ye plough)




Hop grounds Do


Nursery Do.


Fruit and Kitchen Gardens


Pleasure grounds, unprofitable, Parts only


Pasture for Cattle


Hedges - Copses and woods


Highways - water etc



Commons and waste Lands



Total in Eng. And Wales Acres

By Horses, Hogs, Fowls etc 7.500-000

By Human beings 25.004-000

Every individual is said to consume annually ye produce of 3 acres and 1/8th in Bread- Animal food - Liquids - roots greens and fruit - of wh. half an Acre is allotted for Bread -

Jan. 1798 Chaloner Archdeckne Esq of Hatcheson high Sherif was apply’d to, in form by many of the principal Gent’m of this County to call a meeting to confer on public affairs, but refus’d to do so, making frivolous excuses -

Alexander Mitchell Esq’r of America Aged 97 was married to the very accomplish’d Miss Jane Hammond aged 16 -

The 81st Regiment return’d only one Man alive from the west India Shambles, where the Folly of our directors and ye Yellow Fever sacrifices the choicest of our Army -

The new Law as practic’d in Ireland by the powers in Authority is to torture, Hang and Burn on bare Suspicion, by wh. the Irish are drawing to distraction and Rebellion.

Feb. 15th 1798 The French in violation of all honor faith and Treaties, seize on the Cantons of Switzerland by force of arms - a People who gave no offence, and have not been at War for 200 years.

21st The Pope was driven from Rome by the French, with every mark of Insult and indignity wh. a Savage could show to a distress’d old man His City taken and plunder’d and all his effects confiscated and Himself sent into Tuscany for shelter.

Margin Note: Pope Pius ye 6th is allow’d by France 300-000 florins a year and 24 Cardinals. It is suppos’d there will be no more Popes.

The Dutch men of war taken by Ad. Duncan, sold for 161-000 - Two Admirals shar’d 20-000 each - the common men 5£ each -

The old Taxes produc’d in 1797, 3 millions less than they were originally taken at -

The Weather this winter has been remarkably mild and pleasant, no snow has fallen only in Nov’r a very little and very slight Frosts, till Feb. 17th when a pretty smart frost and some Snow, but other wise fine and chearly

Feb 18th 1798 Smart frost and more Snow.

Govern’t has contracted a new debt with the Bank to the amount of 5 millions.

Net produce of all the Taxes for one Year up to Jan. 5 was 18 millions -

In consequence of the expected Invasion, Govern’t has issu’d an order for numbering all the Men in every parish from ye age of 16 to 60, capable to bear Arms - E. Soham contain’d 125 - Brandeston 105 and Cretingham about the same number.

A woman in France is said to have been Deliver’d of six children at a birth - 3 girls and 3 boys, all of wh. Died.

Mrs Larrymore of Yorkshire a labourer’s wife has had 15 Children in 8 years - 3 ye last time, wh. makes her 4 children under one Year old.

A Mr Nigall (?) is now living in Sussex at the age of 120 years, in his perfect senses -

The Taxes impos’d in 1797 and taken by ye Minister as 3 Millions, produc’d only half that Sum - some of the Taxes are said to cost ¼ pr. Cent collecting.

The Peace establishment before this was 16 millions a year -

Mar 24th 1798 Mrs Mary Lanceter a farmer’s widow of this parish was committed to Ipswich Jail on the Coroner’s Inquest charging Her with the murder of her late Husband Sam’l Lanceter, who died the 12th of this Instant from an injury done the Brain by a blow on the Temple - She was tried at Bury this day by Council’r Mingay who sat at the Crown bar when after a Trial of upwards of five hours She was acquitted none of the witnesses proving She gave the fatal blow - I having been call’d to assist the family Surgeon was subpoened and underwent a long examination from the Judge and Counsel, both for and against the prisoner -

Loose paper in Diary:

"John Kinnell of Framlingham in ye County Surgeon and William Goodwin of Earl Soham (?) Surgeon upon their oaths say, and first the said John Kennell said that on Saturday the 10 day of March instant about one oclock in the afternoon Samual Lanceter a little Boy Son of the deceased came for him this Examinant John Kinnell, to attend his Father and he immediately went and found him lying upon the Bed very delirious, tossing himself about the Bed making great exortions and repeatedly putting his Hand to the upper part of his Head crying out "Oh Christ" and appeared in great agony, and upon examining the deceased he found a Blow or Bruise upon his right Temple, and that he had received a Blow upon the external part of his left Eye, and another upon his right Eye - Finding the deceased in a very dangerous situation this Examinant thought proper to call in some further assistance, and accordingly sent for this examinant Wm. Goodwin who came and attended directly - And these Examinants jointly say that the first Thing they thought necessary to be done was to take away some Blood which they did from his foot after a great deal of Trouble, they then dress’d the Deceased’s Head with a discutient Application, and administered a cathartic to open the Bouolds, a gave the best general Directions in their power for the Management of the Patient - And this examinant John Kinnell saith that about 7 o’clock the same Evening the again attended the Deceased and found him something calmer from the Bleeding, but without any senses or power of speaking,, continuing to strive but with less exertions - and these Examinants further say that finding the case likely to turn out fatally they called in another experienced Surgeon about 9 o’clock the next morning (Sunday) when finding the patient still deranged in his senses it was agreed to scalp the part where the Injury appeared to be received on the right side of the head to examine the scull there appearing a contusion on the skin there; but after the most minute investigation they were able to find neither fracture fissure or Depression of the Bone, after dressing the patient they opened the temporal Artery and further gave him some laxative medicines to open the Bowels - that having had the head shaved and finding no other Contusion (except the one above mentioned) they did not feel themselves warranted in making any further operations upon the Head of the patient - And these Examinants say that on Monday Morning about 9 o’clock (?) they again attended the deceased and found him in a dying state, and they afterwards learnt that he died in about an hour after And these Examinants - further say that upon their attending the coroners Inquest this day they were requested to open the deceased’s head and examine the Brain, which having done they found no fracture of the Bond, but a considerable oetraissation of Blood, lying and pressing upon the Brain beneath the part where it appeared he had rec’d a Bruise,which they believe to have arose from external violence and to have been the Cause of the death of the S’d Samuel Lanceter.

Our national Expenditure for ye year 1797 was the Enormous Sum of 52 Millions sterl. And upwards, and many large sums not brought forward.

Ap. 1798 New Loan for 1798 is 15 Mill’o. Interest to be provided by new Taxed amounts to 763.000 a year - Salt is again Tax’d to about 5/ a bushel which is double what it before was the whole duty will now be 840-000£ pr Annum. Tea is likewise again Tax’d 5£ pr Cent, wh. will raise ye addition 113.000 a Year -

Armorial bearings now first Tax’d - in 1660 ye number of heads of families entitled to bear Arms was 9000 - newly created Arms ad. Titles since are 8000 - Total 17-000 families - Arms on Carriages to pay 2-2.0 pr. Annum - on Plate or Seals etc 1.1.0 - Do. on Persons for rings (not house keepers) 10/6 -

Margin note: Taken for Eng. At 140.000

For Ireland 10.000

But has fallen very short

Annual Expence

For Supplimental Militia


Do. For 15-000 Provisional Cavalry


Do. For Barracks


Do. For 45.000 Volunteer Corps


Do. For Navy for 1798


Do. For Army Do.


Total new Demands for 1798 is 30 millions and upwards, exclusive of enormous deficiencies and Debts with ye Bank constantly accumulating.

Ap. 1798 Invasion actually expected

The Provisional Cavalry and Supplimental Militia, in parts call’d out and embodied, all those capable of bearing arms invited to take them up, wh. great numbers call’d Volunteers are doing -

Ap. 1798 Sale of ye Land Tax

This Tax of 4/ in ye pound, when first laid on was promis’d to be only temporary - has been voted Annually, is now made perpetual and to be sold at about 18 years purchase. Is first offer’d to ye proprietor - next to the public - The terms are for every 3£ paid a year for Land Tax, so much 3 pr. Cent stock must be bought and one Tenth more as will produce the 3£ Yearly - Thus if ye. 3 pr. Cents are at 60 you must purchase 66£ of stock wh. added to the expences of Brokerage etc, makes a certain loss in the first instance, besides putting the principal ought(?) of your power - If ye money to purchase with, is to be borrow’d, They must be fools that buy, and if not, It is better Laid out in ye Stock itself, wh. makes a better Interest, with ye chance of adding to the Capital. Mr. Pitt states ye value of ye whole Land Tax at 40 millions but He will never see it half bought up.

Ap. 1798 A new Bill is pass’d for defending the Country By wh. all parishes are directed to give in an acc’t of their live and dead stock, their Corn - Hay and straw - with orders to form Themselves into, bodies of Volunteers - Pioneers - Stock drivers - waggoners and Guardians of ye women Children and ye aged with directions if the French land to Drive ye whole Country forward into the heart of ye. Nation and Burn and destroy what is left behind that can be usefull to the Enemy -

Likewise to ham-string all Horses and Cattle that are not driven away "how horrid and foolish"

The above alarming Bill is as much or more to promote and keep up the Terrors of ye. People and obtain the Taxes, as it is from the real fears of ye event by our Rulers -

The Habeas Corpus Act once more suspended

Ap. 1798 The Rents of England when first estimated amounted to only 11 millions a year; They now are more than 30 Do.

An Expedition ag’st Holland has sail’d for the purpose of destroy’g a Sluice at Bruges and drowning the innocent Inhabitants - 33 Arm’d Vessels sail’d on this Christian like warfare, with 2600 men; They destroy’d a flood gate and had all the Men that landed made prisoners amounting to nearly 2000 - The kill’d were many, but the No. is now for political reasons kept a profound secret, by the governing powers

The Lottery for 1799 was taken by ye Omnium Clubb at 13.7.6 a ticket profit to the state from ye ninneys 167.000£

Tickets never sold for more than prime cost, but chiefly under and towards ye end of Drawing as low as 9£

May 98 Ships of War taken from France Spain and Holland by ye English during this last 5 years

35 of ye Line

80 Frigates

69 Sloops

besides a vast No. of small privateers

Lost by England

One 74 and 5 smaller ones

Lord Ed. Fitzgerald son of ye Duke of Lienster (?Leinster) , taken in Dublin on a charge of high Treason - He wounded two of his apprehenders sone of whom died as Did Himself of ye wounds receiv’d -

24th Rebellion in Ireland

Lord Cornwallis sent over as Lieutenant, with unlimited power and proclaims Martial Law in Dublin - The Insurgents alarmingly numerous - 170 Thousand organiz’d and double that number ready to rise. They frequently engage the King’s troops and were expected to seize Dublin ye 22d. but were happily prevented. They sometimes beat our Troops; stop - plunder and burn ye mail - Coaches

June 5th 98 Irish Rebellion

Have taken Ross and several other Towns - 15 Thousand Rebels encamp’d with Cannon etc. 700 King’s Troops kill’d and Col. Walpole slain - 5 or 6000 Rebels kill’d at ye battle of Ross - Houses and whole Towns burnt and Destroy’d both by ye Rebels and King’s Troops - Men and women hang’d and kill’d by both parties to extort confession - in other cases Gentlemen whipp’d and tortur’d for ye above purpose; in short all regular constitutional Govern’t is at an end and there is nothing now in Ireland, but Rebellion - Fighting - Plundering - burning and murdering. The inveteracy of the parties ag’st each other exceeds the history of the most malignant Savages - Rebels intended seizing Dublin the 22d of June but were prevented -

June 24th Irish Rebellion

7000 Insurgents kill’d at Vinegar Hill in ye County of Wexford - no quarter is given of course there are no prisoners taken, as all are put to the sword either in, or after ye battle - 24 Thous’d Rebels are already kill’d - no returns of the other side of kill’d are admitted.

80 Thous’d Regulars and Militia now in Ireland besides 12-000 Eng’h Militia that have Volunteer’d to be sent There to suppress ye Rebellion.

In England

Regulars - only 12-000

Militia new and Old 100-000

Provisional Cavalry 15.000

New Volunteer Corps for

Local defence 100.000

William Jennens Esq. Of Acton place near Melford died at the great Age of 99 years and about 8 months - King William was his God-father - His riches were immence and dying a batchelor, they devolv’d to very distant relations by heirship, his will not having been sign’d - His Landed Estate only 8 thos. A year devolv’d to an infant Son of Ld. Curzon and his personal property to Lady Andover and Mr Lygon - The total amount of all his wealth was two Millions Ster’g

It is calculated there are about 7 millions of Jews scatter’d over the face of the World

1313 paupers in the City of Norwich cost to maintain yearly 26-700£s being upwards of 20£ each, altho’ they spun their own clothing


The celebrated French general, sail’d from Toulon with 13 Men of War several frigates and 300 Transports, with 40-000 land forces in May 1798 - He first took the island of Malta in June after one day’s attack, suppos’d from ye treathery (?) of its commander, and then proceeded on for Alexandria to conquor Egypt. Malta was defended by 1500 Cannons, 16000 Land forces and 6000 Seamen and is reckon’d the strongest Island in ye world -

In July

He arriv’d at and took by assault the City of Alexandria, after landing about 24 Thos. Men. Rosetta dn grand Cairo afterwards submitted to his Arms.

Aug 1798 The English Ad. Nelson persu’d the above fleet with 13 ships of the Line and some frigates, and came upon Them (after they had landed their men) lying at Anchor in the bay of aboukir at ye mouth of ye Nile. The gallant admiral attack’d the French on ye Evening of ye 1st of August and the battle continu’d ye chief of the night and ye next day and was not finally terminated ‘till ye 3d. day at wh. time Nelson had taken 9 Men of War, sunk one, blowen up the admiral’s ship of 120 Gs (guns?) and one other of 80 Do; kill’d about 4000 and took 5000 prisoners - Two French ships of ye Line and 2 frigates made their escape the 2 Men of War sunk afterwards and the 2 frigates were taken by English cruisers and thus, one of ye most formidable fleets that has ever sail’d was totally destroy’d and not one fighting ship returned to france to tell ye tale

The 300 transports are block’d up, above Alexandria by the English, and ways and means are contriving to destroy Them -

Ye Irish Rebellion

Still continues; the Country is in the most horrid state, and is unfit to live in; the misery of ye Inhabitants being beyond description - 17-000 Rebels have left Dublin to join their companions in Arms, and from other Cities and towns in proportion - The defection of the people appears general - five hund. Thousand rebels its said have engag’d their services and nearly 200 thousand have been diciplin’d and organiz’d -

A General Pardon

And more lenient measures are now offer’d by Government -

The Greenland Fishery

Has been unusually successful this Year, several ships have taken 18 or 20 Whales each, and one 25 Do. 7 Hull ships brot’ home 120 Whales and 2960 Seals producing 2338 butts of blubber -

Persian Yeast

Take a teacupful of split peas, boiling water one pint, influse them all night, in a warm place, or in winter longer; the froth that arises will answer as Yeast

The Rebellion in Ireland

Has been conducted in the most artfull and private manner and never perhaps would have been detected but from the information of one of the Gentlemen concern’d - They had organiz’d and perfected Their scheme according to ye French fashion and had appointed their Directory, amongst whom was Ld. Ed. Fitzgerald the two O’Connors - Doc’t Macnevin and the former was kill’d in resisting his takers, and the latter and a great many other leaders are in prison and are to be transported - since repreiv’d and to lie in prison, and more lenient measures and a general pardon to all Rebels laying down Their arms, have chiefly cur’d this very formidable Rebellion -

Harvest very early and fine, chiefly finished in August -

The County of Suffolk contains in length 52 miles by 28 broad and consists of 800-000 acres let at about 10/6 an acre or 444.000£ pr. Annum - All England estimated at about 26 millions for rent a year. This county has 8.376 houses under ye windows, in all 16-944 houses and between 80 and 90 thousand inhabitants -

It pays to ye Ass’d Taxes for

Serv’ts 1-065

Horses for pleasure 4000

Horses in husbandry - 33-474

Dogs 10-000

4 Wh. Carri’gs 456

2 Wh. Do. 440

Horses for Husbandry are more than double its proportion to England, and ¼ more of those for pleasure to Do.

Judge Heath on ye bench lately observ’d that the publicans in the Metropolis sustain’d an annual loss in pewter pots of 48-000£ on an average, chiefly by Theifs

Margin note: The extent of the Tables was 7 miles

Lord Romney entertain’d ye volunteer Corps for yhe County of Kent on Coxheath with 4000 bottles of wind - 350 hams - 350 fillets of Veal - 350 rounds of beef - 350 surloins of Do. 500 tongues 800 fowls with a desert etc etc etc July 1799

Died at Caistor near Norwich Mr. Jno. Sayer, butcher aged 110 years retaining his faculties to ye last.

Aug’t 25th 1798 The French landed 1200 Men at Sligo in Ireland, with Cannon etc. to assist the expiring Rebellion, and attack’d Gen. Lake defeated Him and took six peices of Cannons, when two of his Reg’ts ran away - Ld Conway march’d from Dublin ag’st ye French, surrounded Them on ye 10th of Sept. when They laid down Their Arms and surrender’d.

15 Reg’ts of our Militia volunter’d Their services and were sent to protect Ireland -

An Elephant sold by Auction at Garraway’s Coffee House for 255 Guineas -

Oct The rebel General Holt and his adherents still are making shocking havoc in Ireland by midnight Murders, Robing and burning -

A Fleet from Brest consisting of La Hocke (?) of 80 Gs and 8 very large Frigates, all full of troops, sail’d for ye Invasion off Ireland; were persu’d by Cap’tn Sr. Jno. Warren and attack’d off the north of Ire’nd on ye 12th of Oct. with a superior fleet; when He took the L. Hocke and 4 Frigates, the others were taken soon after by other Crusers, with between 3 and 4000 troops on board and an abundance of Clothing and Ammunition etc, for the Rebels; Thus two French fleets complete consisting of 14 sail of ye Line and 8 frigates have been taken or destroy’d in one year

Nov 1798 Admiral Nelson now call’d the "Hero of ye Nile" is created a Lord, thank’d by both houses of Parliament and loaded with honors and presents, both from his own, and the Turkish Government -

Yellow Fever again fatal in America, 30 die every 24 hours at New York and 70 Do. At Philadelphia - neither Negroes or Mulattoes have had It -

In the last 2 months france has lost 50-000 Men - 14 sail of the Line and 24 frigates.

It is said the Syr’p of ye berry of the west India Cedar tree, cures Consumptions -

Tea in 1666 a pound cost 3 Gs. In 1695 50-000 lbs were sold in Eng’d now we Import annually 24 millions of it.

Nov. 21st Parliament met

The King’s speech breathing Joy for imaginary successes in the War, informing us of ye necessity for fresh taxes to carry it on, whilst his people are groaning under those already laid, and are thirsting for Peace -

England now maintains 400-000 Land forces and 120-000 Seamen besides the Volunteer Corps, and Yeoman Cavalry etc. etc.

A new War Tax is laid on all Property, amounting to more than 60£ pr. Annum, whether it arises from Land - Money Trade or profession, and all clear Income more than 200£ a year to pay 10 pr. Cent; Land and other Taxes Rates and Interests, are deductable from the general property, to show to neat Income - This Tax supposes the whole clear Income or profit of ye nation 100 mills. A year and that It will produce 10 Million annually

CHANGE OF HANDWRITING with additions by Wm Goodwin

Dec. 24th Sharp frost

25th Snow and Ditto

26th Do. And Intense

27th Ankle deep (this is the first time ankle has been spent this way - previously ancle). Thermometer at 16 Deg below Free .freezes every where in the house even near the fire

28th More severe. Ther. 20 Deg. Below Freezing, all the silver in the globe

Dec 98 War began by Naples against France, King of Sardinia dep’d(?) by France England takes Minorca

Land forces last year 104.000 increased now by Volunteer corps and others troops to 280.000 of which 40.000 are sent to quell ye rebellion in Ireland - also 120 Seamen -

King of Naples takes Rom and afterwards is attacked and beaten, loses 12.000 men, 99 cannons, several stands of Arms ??200 horses, all in 20 Days