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The following Memoir of the Rev. George Walker is chiefly addressed to his surviving friends and acquaintance: to the general reader, therefore, some apology may be due for a minuteness of detail, which the few incidents in the life of a retired literary character would on any other account have rendered unnecessary.
THE REV. GEORGE WALKER.
GEORGE Walker, the subject of the fol' lowing memoir, was born about the year 4 1735, at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The family
from which he descended may be traced to a considerable antiquity; and it has been transmitted by them as a kind of hereditary anecdote, that an ancestor in the reign of James I was reluctantly advanced to the honours of knighthood. The reader will recollect, that an obsolete law of the second Edward, which, affixing the value of a knight's fee, compelled every one, who possessed lands to that amount, either to assume the rank and duties of a knight, or compound by the payment of a stipulated sum, was revived by the arbitrary James, for the purg VOL. I.
pose of replenishing his exhausted coffers. Few at that time aspired to the distinction, as it involved in it very important services, and reduced the possessor of it to a state of great dependence, by obliging him personally to attend in the field, or to incur the penalty of an arbitrary fine. The estate, which thus subjected the owner to all the burdens and the honours of knighthood, had been in the possession of the family for more than a century, being criginally either a gift or a purchase from Henry VIII. From that time to the present it has been enjoyed by them, in an uninterrupted succession from father to son, and is now held by William Walker, esq., of Killenbeck Hall, near Leeds, cousin-german to the author of these volumes, who has in his possession the king's original transfer. : Though his father's circumstances must have sensibly felt the expenses of a numerous family, yet at no period does this appear to have operated to our author's prejudice, by depriving him of any of those advantages nécessary to qualify him for the