Page:A short history of social life in England.djvu/308

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288
HIGHWAY ROBBERY

near London: "At the end of the town (London) some part of the coach broke, and we were obliged to get out, and took shelter at an alehouse; in half an hour we jogged on, and about an hour after that, flop we went into a slough, not over-turned, but stuck. Well, out we were hauled again, and the coach with much difficulty was heaved out! We then once more set forward, and came to our journey's end about five o' the clock without any other accident or fright, and met with no waters worth getting out of the coach for."

Defoe speaks of a lady near Lewes whose coach had to be dragged to church by six oxen, the road being too stiff for horses to attempt.

Throughout the eighteenth century the improvement in travelling advanced steadily if slowly. When George II. ascended the throne, highway robbery had reached its height, but with the hanging of the famous Dick Turpin in 1739 it began to decline. The passing of the Turnpike Act, making them compulsory all over the country, was one of the most important measures of the century. It was quickly succeeded by four hundred Acts passed for repairing the highways in different parts of England. But even the "family