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Lucy Hutchinson (1620–1681). Memoirs of Colonel Hutchinson. 1906.

The Life of John Hutchinson: 1619–36

The great encouragement Sir Thomas had to trust his sons in this town was, because at that time a gentleman inhabited it who had married his uncle’s widow, and had been his fellow-sufferer in a confinement in Kent, when King Charles the First had broken up a parliament to the disgust of the people, and durst not trust those gentlemen that had been most faithful defenders of their countries’ interests, to return for some time to their own countries, for which they served. Of these worthy patriots, Sir Thomas Hutchinson and Sir Thomas Grantham, the gentleman of whom I am speaking, were confined from Nottingham and Lincolnshire to the house of one Sir Adam Newton in Kent; the good father little thinking then, that in that fatal country his son should suffer an imprisonment upon the same account, to the destruction of his life and family. Sir Thomas Grantham was a gentleman of great repute in his country, and kept up all his life the old hospitality of England, having a great retinue and a noble table, and a resort for all the nobility and gentry in those parts. He had only two sons, whereof the eldest was a fine gentleman, bred beyond the seas, according to the best education of those times; the other was a foolish youth, school-fellow with Mr. Hutchinson, who every Saturday night was fetched from school to Sir Thomas Grantham’s, and returned again the Monday morning. Upon the intimate friendship between Sir Thomas Hutchinson and this gentleman, Sir Thomas Hutchinson had a lodging always kept for him at Lincoln, and was very often there. My Lady Grantham had with her a very pretty young gentlewoman, whom she brought with her out of Kent, the daughter of Sir Adam Newton; my lady’s design was to begin an early acquaintance, which might after draw on a marriage between her and Mr. Hutchinson, and it took such effect that there was a great inclination in the young gentlewoman to him; and so much good-nature on his side, as amounted to a mutual respect, and to such a friendship as their youth was capable of, which the parents and others that wished so, interpreted to be a passion of love; but if it were so, death quenched the flame and ravished the young lady from him in the sweet blooming of her youth. That night she died, he lay in his father’s chamber and by accident being very sick, it was imputed to that cause; but he himself least perceived he had any more of love for her than gratitude for her kindness to him, upon which account her death was an affliction to him, and made that house which had been his relief from his hated school less pleasant to him; especially when he met there continual solicitations to sin by the travelled gentleman, who, living in all seeming sobriety before his father, was in his own chamber not only vicious himself, but full of endeavour to corrupt Mr. Hutchinson, who by the grace of God resisted, and detested his frequent temptations of all kinds. The advantage he had at this school, there being very many gentlemen’s sons there, an old Low-country soldier was entertained to train them in arms, and they all bought themselves weapons; and, instead of childish sports, when they were not at their books, they were exercised in all their military postures, and in assaults and defences; which instruction was not useless a few years after, to some of them. Colonel Thornhagh, who was now trained in this sportive militia, with Colonel Hutchinson, afterwards was his fellow-soldier in earnest, when the great cause of God’s and England’s rights came to be disputed with swords against encroaching princes. Sir Thomas Grantham dying, Mr. Hutchinson was removed from Lincoln to the free-school at Nottingham, where his father married a second wife, and for a while went up to London with her; leaving his son at board in a very religious house, where new superstitions and pharisaical holiness, straining at gnats and swallowing camels, gave him a little disgust, and was for a while a stumbling-block in his way of purer profession, when he saw among professors such unsuitable miscarriages. There was now a change in the condition and contentment of his life; he was old enough to be sensible that his father’s second love and marriage to a person of such quality, as required a settlement for her son, must needs be a lessening to his expectation; but he was so affectionate to his father that he received it very contentedly, and rejoiced in his removal, coming from a supercilious pedant to a very honest man, who using him with respect advanced him more in one month than the other did in a year. This tied him to no observation, nor restrained him from no pleasure, nor needed not, for he was so moderate when he was left at his liberty, that he needed no regulation. The familiar kindness of his master made him now begin to love that which the other’s austerity made him loath; and in a year’s time he advanced exceedingly in learning, and was sent to Cambridge. He was made a fellow-commoner of Peterhouse, under the tuition of one Mr. Norwich, an admirable scholar, who by his civil demeanour to him won so much upon his good nature, that he loved and reverenced him as a father, and betook himself with such delight to his studies that he attained to a great height of learning, performed public exercises in his college with much applause, and upon their importunity took a degree in the university; whereof he was at that time the grace, there not being any gentleman in the town that lived with such regularity in himself, and such general love and good esteem of all persons as he did. He kept not company with any of the vain young persons, but with the graver men, and those by whose conversation he might gain improvement. He was constant at their chapel, where he began to take notice of their stretching superstition to idolatry; and was courted much into a more solemn practice of it than he could admit, though as yet he considered not the emptiness and carnality, to say no more, of that public service which was then in use. For his exercise he practised tennis, and played admirable well at it; for his diversion, he chose music, and got a very good hand, which afterwards he improved to a great mastery on the viol. There were masters that taught to dance and vault, whom he practised with, being very agile and apt for all such becoming exercises. His father stinted not his expense, which the bounty of his mind made pretty large, for he was very liberal to his tutors and servitors, and to the meaner officers of the house. He was enticed to bow to their great idol, learning, and had a higher veneration for it a long time than can strictly be allowed; yet he then looked upon it as a handmaid to devotion, and as the great improver of natural reason. His tutor and the masters that governed the college while he was there, were of Arminian principles, and that college was noted above all for popish superstitious practices; yet through the grace of God, notwithstanding the mutual kindness the whole household had for him and he for them, he came away, after five years’ study there, untainted with those principles or practices, though not yet enlightened to discern the spring of them in the rights and usages of the English Church.