On Thursday last, being the day of general Thanksgiving appointed by his Majesty to be observed, to give praise to the Almighty, for the return of the blessings of peace to this kingdom, was observed here with the most uncommon and extraordinary rejoicing ever remembered. In the fore noon, the Mayor, attended by the Aldermen in their scarlet gowns, and the residue of the Corporation in their formalities, went to St. Martin’s church, where an excellent sermon was preached on the occasion by the Rev. Mr. HAINES, from Psalm xlvi, ver. 8. 9. O come hither and behold the works of the Lord.
As soon as service was ended, the Corporation returned to the Town-Hall, and was there joined by the high-sheriff of the county, and a great number of gentlemen. The entertainment at dinner, was served up in two courses, and was by far the most elegant ever seen here, consisting of every variety that the country could afford, art invent, or expence procure. As soon as dinner was over the following ODE, wrote by Mr. Charles Villiers of Nottingham, and set Musick by Mr. John Valentine in Leicester, was performed in a grand chorus of voices and instruments.
An ODE to PEACE
The Wars are o’er
And all their dire alarms!
No more the hostile Squadrons spread the plain,
Nor now with human Blood the fields distain,
We her not now of daily widowed poor,
Distressed Matrons, and their helpless young,
Or, piteous plaints of Orphans!
Nor shine in Phalanx now the Spears and Sabres bright,
But may for Agriculture, beaten be,
To Plow-shares, and to Pruning-hooks.
All hail fair Peace! Thy olive sceptered Reign,
May Glorious George triumphant long maintain,
Extend His regal power from shore to shore,
And War’s dread influence be felt no more.
Diffuse thy beaming grace o’er our Isle,
So shall we safely rest, serenely smile.
As Britain’s Guardian may he e’er be blessed,
With able Statesmen, through the world confessed;
That Peace and plenty may abound at home,
And useful foreign products safely come.
In wafting gales, and on the Billows pride,
Sweep o’er the deep, and through the foaming tide.
While Britain o’er the World her Traffic spreads,
And languid Trade and Commerce raise their heads,
Like stately Cedars and the lofty Pine,
While all the powers in mutual interest join!
May Glorious George triumphant Reign,
And spread the swelling Canvas o’er the Main.
Long live the King, still shine in regal state,
May Virtue ever ornament the great;
Thus taught by precepts and example too,
May all our manners be reformed anew.
The peoples blessing, and the Monarchs praise,
To George! To glorious George your voices raise.
Long live our gracious King in happy Peace,
Our land still teeming forth her rich increase,
Like Amalthea’s horn, with plenty crowned,
While love, and harmony, and wealth abound!
Thus happy happy King, thy people may
Come forth in Crowds and sing, let George the sceptre sway.
And may the King, the Queen and People be
Happy in their illustrious Progeny.
Thus glorious George! with Wisdom crowned,
Thy Name shall through each echoing Clime resound.
Long live the King!
And let the Trumpets sound,
Long live the Queen!
Let mirth and joy abound,
While Albion’s Sons are blessed in Peace profound.
About four o’clock the procession through the principal street began: They were marshalled in the Town-hall-lane, and moved on slowly in the following order: the musick playing God Save the King.
Halbert men, two and two.
Gunners, two and two.
Drums and Fifes.
Two lodges of the most honourable, friendly and agreeable Fraternity of free and accepted MASONS.
1st The Tyler, with his sword and jewel.
Two present masters of lodges, with their proper jewels, each bearing on their left hands, the bible, compass and square belonging to each lodge, and in their right hand each a common gavil.
Three late masters with their proper jewels, each bearing in their left hand their authority from the grand lodge, with the books of constitutions, rules and orders, &c., &c.
Two junior Wardens, with their jewels, and columns of their orders in their right hands.
Two secretaries with their jewels, &c.
Two senior deacons, with their proper jewels and wands.
Two junior deacons with their formalities as above.
The other Tyler with his sword and jewel as above. — All elegantly dressed according to formality, and kept up with the exactness and decorum peculiar to their ancient order,
A grand band of music, voices and instruments.
The High Sheriff of the county.
Clergy, officers and gentlemen, two and two.
The mayor of the Borough, and Recorder.
Aldermen in their scarlet gowns, two and two.
Tradesmen, &c., two and two.
Drums and Fifes.
JASON, on horseback, and carrying a fleece of wool before him, his sword drawn, and himself properly habitted, with a cap and wig and sashes of wool; on each side a page.
The Bishop’s verger on horseback, with a wool wig, sashes, and a wool verge; on each side a page.
THE B I S H O P,
in an open landau, drawn by six horses, with 3 postillions and 4 pages all habitted. — His Lordship in a gown and cassock, a mitre of wool on his head, in one hand the book of Common Prayer, and in the other a Wool-comb.
A Shepherd and Shepherdess on horseback, the Shepherd in white, with a white hat, white wig, crook in his hand and a dog upon his knee. The Shepherdess in green, dressed with the greatest elegance, a crook in her hand and a lamb upon her knee; and a page to attend on each.
Another Shepherd and Shepherdess on horseback, on his head a crown of wool, a crook in his hand and sashes of wool about him, the Shepherdess as before elegantly dressed.
A stage built on a waggon, with 2 combers at work, 2 doublers, 2 spinners, a framework knitter at his calling and a crown of wool on the stage.
A procession of about 20 combers, all habitted in wool wigs, sashes, ruffled shirts and grey stockings, three and three.
At the following places the procession halted — High-cross — Coal-hill — Three Crowns corner — Friar-Lane — Water-house on South-gate — The Royal Cank — Top of the Market-place — The Conduit — and before the Change; at the last place the Ode was again performed in full chorus of voices and instruments, and at all the former the two following choruses:
God save Great George our King,
Long live our Noble King,
May he defend our Laws,
And ever give us cause,
To say with Heart and Voice,
God save the King. —
2nd grand Chorus
Long live the King!
And let the Trumpet sound —
Long live the Queen! —
Let mirth and joy abound,
While Albion’s sons are blessed in peace profound.
The streets as the procession passed were lined with an incredible number of people, the windows and balconys were not only filled but the roofs of houses and tops of the chimneys; in many places were arbours, and on all of which were interwoven garlands and crowns with wreaths of flowers, and at which the inhabitants were regaling themselves and friends, having purchased sheep, hogs and lambs, and in various parts of the town were roasting ’em whole. No joy like this, so universal, was ever before known here by the oldest man living, nothing being heard but shouts and exclamations of Long Live the King and Queen.
The procession was closed at the New Change, where the gentlemen withdrew and furnished the evening with many loyal healths expressive of their duty and affection to their Majesties.
A ball and genteel collation was also given in the evening to the ladies, which was exceedingly brilliant, and conducted with the greatest order.
The town on this occasion would have been illuminated, but to prevent the dangerous consequences of fire, Mr. Mayor was please to request of the inhabitants not to illuminate, and at the same time directing the New Change to be lighted, which was accordingly done in a most elegant manner. — The basement story, consisting of six arches, was decorated with seven concentric lamps each; in the niche in the centre of the building was placed the effigy of his Majesty, at full length, inscribed GEORGIUS III REX: On each side his Majesty, a festoon, and on the right and left two pyramids and two cones, and on each side of these two frustums of pyramids. Over his majesty in the open of the pediment was placed the british crown, which on each side was supported with the horns of plenty, out of them was thrown palm branches and other decorations; on each side of these were placed semicircular arches, and to the right and left of those, pitched pediments. At the top of the centre pediment was placed the trophy of war 9 feet square, on the right and left of which, on the parapet wall, was inscribed and illuminated, Glory to God, on Earth Peace. At each end were erected a cone 12 feet high, on top of each two urns, which when lighted blazed like meteors, and might be seen many miles. There were upwards of 3000 lamps purchased for this illumination. And it is supposed not less than 20,000 people were present at the lighting of the same.