his majesty, and had given it under his hand and seal, that the late plot was a presbyterian plot, and invented by the Earl of Shaftsbury, on purpose to extirpate the royal family, and to dethrone his present majesty, and turn England into a commonwealth, or else to set the crown upon the earl's own head, with more such wicked and treasonable matter; a further account you may have in his trial.

But a new parliament was summoned to appear at Oxford, where things of as high nature were agitated, as ever came before the con. sideration of a parliament, no less than the preservation of the king's majesty's person, the protestant religion, and the good of the people of England; all which now was invaded by the bloody designs of the papists, but, being very hot about the business of Fitzharris, and things of the like nature, it pleased his majesty to dissolve them.

Some time after Fitzharris was tried and executed, the Earl of Shaftsbury was again committed to the tower of London; the cir. cumstances of his examination, and acquittal, would take too much room here to be recited. To finish this tragical story, only I cannot omit, that, on the fifteenth of August, 1681, Mrs. Fitzharris gave a deposition on oath, that her husband, a little before his execution, not only told her, what great offers he had made him, if he would have charged that treasonable and infamous libel (which he was executed afterwards for) on this noble peer and the Lord Howard; and that he advised her to do it to save his life; though he protested at the same time, that they were wholly innocent. She likewise deposed, that a certain gentleman assured her, that she should have what money she pleased, if she would accuse the earl and the Lord How. ard, as the authors of the said libel. But they having tampered with so many, on account of this baffled design, that it was impossible but their consult must take wind, especially when we consider, they were a people, that, either to supply their necessities, or to feed their ambition, or, more probably, through irresistible fatality, had blabbed and discovered the secrets of holy mother, and had spoke so unseasonably in her tip, that they had spoiled her game. curity could these Romish sophisters have, but that their corked vessel would prove leaky again? I shall give one memorable pas. sage, said to have passed between the Earl and one of the popish lords, soon after his commitment. The story is this : meeting, acci. dentally, with one of the popish lords, he was asked by him, What his lordship did there, and that he little thought to have his good company ? To which the Earl of Shaftsbury replied, That he had lately been sick of an ague, and was come there to take some Jesuit's powder. It was said, during the whole time of his lordship being in the tower, he remained very chearful, beyond what could have been expected from a person labouring under such extreme pains and diseases. During the earl's imprisonment, many made it their bu. siness to detract and vilify him; and it was their mode to drink his health at an hempen-string, and call him Tony Tapskin, and King of Poland. After the earl's trial, it is reported he arrested one Baines, one of the witnesses for a conspiraoy, also several others; but, being not suffered to have his trial against them in London and

What se.

Middlesex, he remitted the same till another opportunity. Thus have we given a brief account of the most remarkable things relating to this great peer, to this time; after which he lived very private at hig house in Aldersgate.street, till the beginning of the month of November, when, it is reported, he left England, and landed at Brill in Holland, where he was nobly entertained by the States, and, as some say, hath put into their stock a considerable sum of money.

But, amongst the rest, let us take cognisance of his deportment, in the time of his seeming aMiction. He was little or nothing dismayed at the contrary current, which opposed the stream of his aspiring mind, which was a generous and magnanimous spirit in him; for, indeed, he was as much befriended by unexpected favours abroad, as afflicted by domestick troubles in his own native soil. His reception in Holland was, unquestionably, very kind, as doubtless was appertinent to a person of his parts. It is not to be doubted, but the many transactions happening in his time, had recorded him there, as well as in other countries, for a politician, and so was he received by them. His deportment there was such, that he obliged all that came near him, indulged all that knew him, and, at his death, left no man without an obligation of a memento. It was much to be taken notice of, that, during the time of his illness, he rather seemed to be of better composure in mind, than ordinary, as seeming to embrace his malady with a kind of welcome, that might transmute his soul into that endless happiness, which he had been so long la. Bouring for. He seemed to covet after that continual blessing, which alone makes happy, and rejoiced at his approaching change. O happy is that man, who, like an undaunted champion, can boldly look upon the pale messenger of grim death without terror, when no astonishment comes to amaze the drooping senses; but, on the con. trary, if filled with comfort, at the perfect assurance of a better state, by the help and assistance of a blessed change; no peace like a quiet mind, no comfort like the peace of conscience, nor no con. quest like the victory over sin. Thrice happy is that man, whom the thoughts of death cannot terrify. Then let us all labour so to live here, that we may assure ourselves of an inheritance hereafter, that shall furnish our souls with joys everlasting, that have no end. But when he perceived, that his fatal hour was most certainly approaching, with a most heavenly frame, he prepared himself to meet with that unwelcome messenger, taking great and particular care of his menial servants, that will imprint a memorial in their now bleed. ing hearts. So having settled affairs in his house, according to his own mind and will, he recommended his soul to him that gave it, in the following words and manner:

- O most gracious and merciful Lord God, who, out of thy in. (finite mercy and goodness, hast preserved and protected me through

an ocean of trouble and perplexity, yea, and brought me out of a labyrinth of danger, which, without thine assistance, I could

never have waded through; and now, since by thy mercy I am made sensible of thy unspeakable love to ime in this my

last hour, I beseech thee, with an unfeigned desire to have mercy upon my

[ocr errors]

(immortal soul, and let thine angel conduct it to the throne of thine

everlasting happiness. Lord preserve and keep my sovereign liege, • Charles the second, king of the land of my nativity, and protect that • poor nation, now in a tottering condition, from the yoke'and burthen

of popish tyranny, that the gospel may flourish in the dominions thereof. Lord strengthen me in this hour of tribulation, that I may chearfully pass through the dark passage, which leads to thy never fading light. Amen.







London, printed for W. Hammond, 1683, Quarto, containing

[ocr errors]

twelve pages.

Ralph. HERE's a clutter with Observators three or four times a week! and an everlasting din about whigs and trimmers, and the devil and all of business ! Prithee, Nobbs, let thee and I set up an Obser. vator; 'tis a pretty trade, and, next to that of an informer, one of the most thriving in these dull times. There's an old fellow in Holborn gets, they say, forty shillings a paper certain pension, besides by-jobs of two or three hundred guineas at a lump; and yet frets, and foams, and raves, because he is no better rewarded.

Nobbs. When all the swarming intelligencers were silenced, and Thompson muzzled, and Care run away, and Curtis and Jane. way, poor snails ! had pulled in their horns, and were crept into their original shells, I was in hopes the nation should no more have been pestered with this make-bait trumpery. But, since the incor. rigible squire scribbles on as eagerly as ever, I see no reason why we may not put in for a snack; for a pamphlet is a pamphlet, whether it be writ by Roger the fidler, or Ralph the corn-cutter.

Ralph. But I bar all discourse of religion or government, and rellexions on particular persons.

Alias Sir Roger L'Estrange.

that way

Nobbs. Prithee hast thou got a new invention to make butter without cream ? Or the apothecaries trick, to give us Oxycrocium, and not a dram of saffron in it? alas man it is the very essence of an Observator to be full of mysteries of state, and its privilege to fall foul on any body, How many hundreds have been libelled

nay, persons of highest honour and office have scarce escaped him of late. Suppose I have a mind to a good warm place of credit and profit (and for such dainties old men may long, as well as young women) what have I to do, but print an Observator, upbraid the government with my services and disappointments, ac. quaint the world what preferments I would be at, and put my superiors roundly in mind of it; as much as to say, Sirs ! you are ungrateful, and neither understand your own 'interest, nor my merits.' Then suppose I receive a rub from some persons of quality that do not think me worthy; straight I at them with another Obser. vator, and expose them as trimmers and betrayers of the government; and so revenge myself, that no-body for the future shall dare oppose my pretensions.

Ralph. A clever course! but, methinks, somewhat saucy; and he that practises it, deserves no other advancement, but to the pillory, or whipping-post. However, since there is an old proverb, - That one may better steal a steed, than another peep over the hedge;' I know not whether every Observator may be allowed the like prerogative; therefore still I say, I will not meddle with edge. tools.

Nobbs. What then, shall we talk of nothing at all?

Ralph. No, but of something next to nothing, that is, the Ob. servator himself. I go sometimes to Sam's, where people cry him up as the Atlas of the church, the Argus of the state, the very buckle and thong of loyalty ; and you see how he vapours of his forty years service to the crown; therefore I would gladly be in, formed what mighty exploits he performed during the old rebellion, what commands he had, how many thousand pounds ho expended, what scars of honour he received.

Nobbs. You must note, The gentleman was a younger brother (the scandal of a worthy family, who have long been ashamed of him) and so far from being able to contribute to the royal cause, that, during his youth, Phil. Porter's plough was his best mainte. nance;

and it is observed, that he lived more splendidly under the Usurper, than ever before, or since. Whence some have thought, that the same wind, which hurried old Noll to old Nick, might also puff away this gallant's coach and horses; for, though he kept such an equipage before, they were never afterwards visible,

Ralph. This is nothing to his personal gallantry; perhaps he rescued the standard at Edge-hill: stormed towns, as mountebanks draw teeth, with a touch; or routed whole armies of the rebels, like Almanzor.

Nobbs. No, no; valour is none of his talent; he has more wit, than to hazard his precious person with any gun, but Joan's; wisely considering, that, if a man happen to be spitted through the lungs, or have his brains dulled with a lump of lead, it would go near to spoil his writing of Observators for ever; and then, what would become of the government? He marches, indeed, equipped with a sword, but it is only for ornament, for he has not so much courage as a guinney-pig; a boy of fourteen may at any time disarm him with a bean-stalk. Did you never hear how captain C. of Richmond Ob. servatored him? Or how the life-guard-man wrought a miracle, and, for a moment, made him honest?

Ralph. Of the first I have had some inkling. He had libelled some of the captain's relations, who thereupon gave him the disci. pline of the battoon, and made him dance without his fiddle, which he received as became a philosopher; and it is the best argument he has to prove him a christian, because Preces et Lachrymæ were all his defence.—But, for the adventure of the life-guard-man, I am in the dark. Nobbs. The business was thus:

--About the year 1677, one Cole, having a sheet against popery, called, A Rod for Rome (or some such-like title) bearing hard upon the Jesuits, sent it up for a pass-port. Mr. Observer refused it, as he generally did things of that nature, yet could give no reason ; for he was not so ungenteel, as to boast the kindnesses he did the Romans. Thus it lay by till after the discovery of the plot, when the old man sent it again by Mrs. Purslow, a printer, who, having made forty jaunts in vain, at last sent hermaid for his positive answer; but, she not being so much in his favour, as the lass once in Duck-lane, to whom he never denied any thing, he returned it, swearing most bloodily, that he would not allow it. As the wench came forth, whom should she meet with, but a gentleman of the guard, her acquaintance; who, understanding what she had been about, read the copy, goes back with her, and, as soon as he came into the room, displaying the paper by one corner, as an ensign of war, begins:--D-me, do you deny such an honest thing against the Papists ?' ha! The Obser. vator was just ready to Atkinise his breeches; and with a thousand French cringes and grimaces, cries :

-Good sir ! noble sir ! as I am a gentleman, I never refused it; only the maid importuned me, when I was busy ;'-and presently bescrawled the paper with his licentious fist. The wench was fumbling for the half-crown, but her friend plucked her away abruptly; and our Observator was glad he was so well rid of him, though with the loss of his fee.

Ralph. But still, where are the instances of his atchievements for Charles the Martyr? He boasts, in many of his pamphlets, how near he was to the honour of the gallows: What was he to be hanged, like Mum-chance, for doing nothing?

Nobbs. No, but for doing nothing to the purpose. Did you never see a little hocus, by sleight of hand, popping a piece several times, first out of one pocket, and then out of another, persuade folks he was damnable full of money, when one poor sice was all his stock; just so the Iliads of our Observator's loyalty, when exa. mined, dwindle into one single, sorry, ill-managed intrigue at Lynn which was nakedly thus;


« ElőzőTovább »