A "winding-sheet" is a sheet of fabric used to wrap a corpse for burial.
This figurative meaning foreshadows future events.
George Jeffreys (1645–1689) was a highly prominent judge in 17th Century England.
Jeffreys' legal career began in 1668. In 1676 he became Solicitor General to James, Duke of York. He was knighted in 1677, and steadily accumulated power as a Chief Justice and Counsel for the Crown. Charles II made him a Baronet in 1681, and in 1683 he became Chief Justice of the King’s Bench and a member of the Privy Council. After James II’s accession to the throne, the King named Jeffreys Lord Chancellor in 1685, and elevated him to the peerage as Baron Jeffreys of Wem.
Following the Monmouth rebellion in 1685, Jeffreys was sent to the West Country to try the captured rebels. The trials became known as the Bloody Assizes - Jeffreys issued harsh sentences to nearly all defendants. About 300 rebels were executed, and 800-900 were transported to the West Indies. For his severity, Jeffreys was nicknamed "the hanging judge."
A bumper was the name given to a glass, tankard or cup, filled to the brim; throttle is an old-fashioned word for the throat or the gullet.
London society of the Georgian period was renowned for its heavy consumption of alcohol. Poor people tended to drink beer or gin, but a wider range of alcoholic drinks was available to the rich. These included wines such as French claret; fortified wines such as sherry, port or Madeira; and spirits such as brandy and rum. It is noted in the text that Mr Stryver and Sydney Carton have wine, brandy, rum, sugar and lemons with which to concoct their punch.
During the Georgian period, beer might be drunk from pewter tankards, and other drinks, from glass goblets or tumblers.
Click here to see some 18th century pewter tankards and measures.