« PreviousContinue »
much from our sincere desire for the success of Mr. Bohn's
Standard Library,' and hope we shall not have occasion again to prefer a similar complaint. Nominally, the present volume does not belong to this series, and we shall be glad to find that its circulation presents no temptation to the publisher to repeat the experiment. A biographical sketch of Antony Hamilton, the brother-in-law of Count Grammont and the author of his Memoirs is appropriately prefixed. The work itself is probably but little known to our readers, and we may therefore add that the first visit of the Count to England was during the protectorship of Cromwell, of whom he speaks as, 'equally famous for his crimes and his elevation,' a'man, whose ambition had opened him a way to sovereign power by the greatest crimes. This language was perfectly natural to a courtier of Louis xiv, though it will probably now awaken only a smile. We are not surprized to learn that the Chevalier speedily returned to France having as we are informed acquired nothing by this voyage, but the idea of some merit in a profli. gate man, and the admiration of some concealed beauties he had found means to discover. His second visit was about two years after the Restoration when he informs us 'nothing was to be seen among them, (the courtiers, but an emulation in glory, politeness and virtue. There is little of historical value in the work, and we shall therefore dismiss it with a brief extract descriptive of the Duke of Monmouth as he appeared on his first introduction to Court. It is from an eye witness, and as subsequent events proved, is minutely accurate.
The Duke of Monmouth, natural son to Charles the Second, now made his first appearance in his father's court: his entrance upon the stage of the world was so brilliant, his ambition had occasioned so many considerable events, and the particulars of his tragical end are so recent, that it were needless to produce any other traits to give a sketch of his character. By the whole tenor of his life, he appeared to be rash in his undertakings, irresolute in the execution, and dejected in his misfortunes, in which, at least, an undaunted resolution ought to equal the greatness of the attempt.
‘His figure, and the exterior graces of his person were such, that nature, perhaps, never formed any thing more complete; his face was extremely handsome; and yet it was a manly face, neither inanimate nor effeminate ; each feature having its beauty and peculiar delicacy : he had a wonderful genius for every sort of exercise, an engaging aspect, and an air of grandeur : in a word, he possessed every personal advantage; but then, he was greatly deficient in mental accomplishments. He had no sentiments but such as others inspired him with ; and those who first insinuated themselves into his friendship took care to inspire him with none but such as were pernicious. The astonishing beauty of his outward form caused universal admiration : those who before were
looked upon as handsome, were now entirely forgotten at court ; and all. the gay and beautiful of the fair sex were at his devotion. He was particularly beloved by the king; but the universal terror of husbands and lovers. This, however, did not long continue; for nature not having endowed him with qualifications to secure the possession of the heart, the fair sex soon perceived the defect.-Pp. 294, 295.
The other contents of the volume are far more valuable. They consist of a personal history of Charles II., compiled from various authorities; the king's account of his escape after the battle of Worcester, as dictated by himself to Pepys; and the Boscobel tracts, written by Thomas Blount, illustrative of the same period, which are amongst the most interesting and scarce historical pamphlets of the seventeenth century. Each of these three is worth perusal, and a few extracts from the second cannot fail to be acceptable.
Our readers are well aware of the circumstances which preceded this narrative. Prince Charles, at the head of a Scotch force, having passed the English border, advanced rapidly towards Worcester, whither he was followed by Cromwell, with a determination to bring him as speedily as possible to a decisive engagement. This occurred on the celebrated 3rd of September, and the hopes of the son were extinguished, as those of the father had been at Naseby. His personal safety became immediately his sole object. He was in the heart of the kingdom ; a large reward was offered for his apprehension, and vigilant foes, whom it was difficult to evade, tracked his course. In such circumstances escape appeared hopeless; and it is no slight honour to the English character that though his person was recognised by many, he was betrayed by none. Having disguised himself 'in a country fellow's habit, with a pair of ordinary grey cloth breeches, a leathern doublet, and a green jerkin,' he first resolved to make his way on foot to London, but after. wards changed his mind, and proceeded towards the Severn, in hope of reaching Swansea, and thence proceeding to France. A narrow escape, of which the following account is given, was experienced at this early stage.
So that night, as soon as it was dark, Richard Penderell and I took our journey on foot towards the Severn, intending to pass over a ferry, half-way between Bridgenorth and Shrewsbury. But as we were going in the night, we came by a mill where I heard some people talking (Memorandum, that I had got some bread and cheese the night before at one of the Penderell's houses, I not going in), and as we conceived, it was about twelve or one o'clock at night, and the country fellow desired me not to answer if any body should ask me any questions, because I had not the accent of the country.
Just as we came to the mill, we could see the miller, as I believed, VOL. XX.
sitting at the mill door, he being in white clothes, it being a very dark night. He called out, “Who goes there?' Upon which Richard Penderell answered, · Neighbours going home' or some such like words. Whereupon the miller cried out, 'If you be neighbours, stand, or I will knock you down.' Upon which, we believing there was company in the house, the fellow bade me follow him close ; and he ran to a gate that went up a dirty lane, up a hill, and opening the gate, the miller cried out, “Rogues, rogues !' And thereupon some men came out of the mill after us, which I believed were soldiers : So we fell a-running, both of us, up the lane, as long as we could run, it being very deep, and very dirty, till at last I bade him leap over a hedge, and lie still to hear if anybody followed us; which we did, and continued lying down upon the ground about half an hour, when, hearing nobody come, we continued our way on to the village upon the Severn; where the fellow told me there was an honest gentleman, one Mr. Woolfe, that lived in that town, where I might be with great safety : for that he had hidingholes for priests.'—pp. 459, 460.
Assuming shortly afterwards a somewhat better habit, he proceeded towards Bristol, as serving-man to a Mrs. Lane, the sister of a royalist officer. In this part of the journey an amusing incident occurred.
We had not,' says the narrative, 'gone two hours on our way but the mare I rode on cast a shoe ; so we were forced to ride to get another shoe at a scattering village, whose name begins with something like Long-.-, And as I was holding my horse's foot, I asked the smith what news? He told me that there was no news that he knew of, since the good news of the beating of the rogues the Scots. I asked him whether there was none of the English taken that joined with the Scots ? He answered, that he did not hear that that rogue Charles Stewart was taken ; but some of the others, he said, were taken, but not Charles Stewart. I told him, that if that rogue were taken, he deserved to be hanged, more than all the rest, for bringing in the Scots. Upon which he said, that I spoke like an honest man, and so we parted.'-p. 464.
A more serious danger speedily threatened which must have taxed, to the very utmost, the self-possession of the fugitive. Happily, however, he was surrounded by faithful men whom no bribe could tempt. The readers of romance would find it difficult to surpass the following.
* The next night we lay at Cirencester ; and so from thence to Mr. Norton's house, beyond Bristol, where, as soon as ever I came, Mrs. Lane called the butler of the house, a very honest fellow, whose name was Pope, and had served Tom Jermyn, a groom of my bedchamber, when I was a boy at Richmond; she bade him to take care of William Jackson, for that was my name, as having been lately sick of an ague, whereof she said I was still weak, and not quite recovered. And the truth is, my late fatigues, and want of meat, had indeed made me look
a little pale; besides this, Pope had been a trooper in the king my father's army ; but I was not to be known in that house for any thing bat Mrs. Lane's servant.
• Memorandum—That one Mr. Lassells, a cousin of Mrs. Lane's, went all the way with us, from Colonel Lane's, on horseback, single, I riding before Mrs. Lane.
Pope, the butler, took great care of me that night, I not eating, as I should have done, with the servants, upon account of my not being Well.
• The next morning I arose pretty early, having a very good stomach, and went to the buttery-hatch to get my breakfast ; where I found Pope and two or three other men in the room, and we all fell to eating bread and butter, to which he gave us very good ale and sack. And as I was sitting there, there was one that looked like a country fellow sat just by me, who, talking, gave so particular an account of the battle of Worcester to the rest of the company, that I concluded he must be one of Cromwell's soldiers. But I asking him how he came to give so good an account of that battle, he told me he was in the king's regiment; by which I thought he meant one Colonel King's regiment. But, questioning him further, I perceived that he had been in my regiment of guards, in major Broughton's company, that was my major in the battle. I asked him what a kind of man I was? To which he answered by describing exactly both my clothes and my horse ; and then looking apon me, he told me that the king was at least three fingers taller than 1. Upon which I made what haste I could out of the buttery, for fear he should indeed know me, as being more afraid when I knew he was one of our own soldiers, than when I took him for one of the enemy's.
So Pope and I went into the hall, and just as we came into it Mrs. Norton was coming by through it; upon which, I plucking off my hat, and standing with my hat in my hand, as she passed by, that Pope looked very earnestly in my face. But I took no notice of it, but put on my hat again, and went away, walking out of the house into the field.
I had not been out half an hour, but coming back I went up to the chamber where I lay ; and just as I came thither, Mr. Lassells came to me, and in a little trouble said, 'What shall we do! I am afraid Pope knows you; for he says very positively to me that it is you, but I have denied it.' Upon which I presently, without more ado, asked him whether he was a very honest man or no ? Whereto he answering me that he knew him to be so honest a fellow that he durst trust him with his life, as having been always on our side, I thought it better to trust him, than go away leaving that suspicion upon him; and thereupon sent for Pope, and told him, that I was very glad to meet him there, and would trust him with my life as an old acquaintance. Upon which, being a discreet fellow, he asked me what I intended to do; for, says he, I am extremely happy I know you, for otherwise you might run great danger in this house. For though my master and mistress are good people, yet there are at this time one or two in it that are very great rogues; and I think I can be useful to you in any thing you will command me. Upon which I told him my design of getting a ship, if
possible, at Bristol ; and to that end, bade him go that very day immediately to Bristol, to see if there were any ships going either to Spain or France, that I might get a passage away in.'--pp. 465-467.
Finding that the passages on the Severn were too closely watched to allow of his entering Wales, and that no vessel for France would be leaving Bristol for a month, the prince was compelled to alter his route, and determined on proceeding towards Dorsetshire, in the hope of escaping from one of its ports. With this view he reached Lyme, and concealed himself in a neighbouring village, where, however, he was again disappointed, and whence he removed to Burport, in expectation of sailing in a trading vessel on the following night. In this short removal, the self-possession of the prince was severely taxed on two occasions; but, however, he failed in other matters; he was singularly qualified for effecting an escape from perils which would have bewildered wiser men. He tells us :
So Frank Windham, and Mrs. Coningsby and I, went in the morning, on horseback, away to Burport; and just as we came into the town, I could see the streets full of red-coats, Cromwell's soldiers, being a regiment of Colonel Haynes's, viz. fifteen hundred men going to embark to take Jersey, at which Frank Windhain was very much startled, and asked me what I would do? I told him that we must go impudently into the best inn in the town, and take a chamber there, as the only thing to be done; because we should otherways miss my Lord Wilmot, in case we went anywhere else, and that would be very inconvenient both to him and me. So we rode directly into the best inn of the place, and found the yard very full of soldiers. I alighted, and taking the horses, thought it the best way to go blundering in among them, and lead them through the middle of the soldiers into the stable, which I did; and they were very angry with me for my rudeness.
As soon as I came into the stable I took the bridle off the horses, and called the hostler to me to help me, and to give the borses some oats. And as the hostler was helping me to feed the horses, •Sure, Sir,' says the hostler, “I know your face ?' which was no very pleasant question to me. But I thought the best way was to ask him, where he had lived—whether he had always lived there or no ? He told me, that he was but newly come thither; that he was born in Exeter, and had been hostler in an inn there, hard by one Mr. Potter's, a merchant, in whose house I had lain in the time of war : so I thought it best to give the fellow no further occasion of thinking where he had seen me, for fear he should guess right at last; therefore I told him, ' Friend, certainly you have seen me then at Mr. Potter's, for I served him a good while, above a year.' 'O!' says he, 'then I remember you a boy there ;' and with that was put off from thinking any more on it; but desired that we might drink a pot of beer together ; which I excused, by saying, that I must go wait on my master, and get his dinner ready for him. But told him, that my master was going for London, and would return about