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and especially the French, who made great preparations in all their ports upon the ocean, strengthened themselves so very consi. derably by sea *.
Yet all this was not carried on so secretly, but their own resi. dents at London, and the ministers of other princes in King Charles's court, gave the Hollanders such sure advertisement of his altering his measures, that they found it past all question. Pensioner de Witt fell in a swoon in the Stadt.house, upon the reading of a letter, which gave him an account of it +; and, as soon as he had recovered himself, he proposed to send the Heer Meerman into England, to renew the old alliances; who was immediately seconded by the Marquis del Freno, the Spanish minister I, who was sent thither on purpose to join with him in making use of all sorts of arguments, which might oblige the King of England to break off his new treaty with Francel.
But, all these applications proving ineffectual, all things tended to a war: it was known that the King of England had declared for France; and that, being provoked with the usage which his subjects had received at Surinam, he had renewed a treaty with France against Holland, and had promised to begin the war, provided that his most Christian majesty would declare war against the States in the beginning of May $.
And though the earnestness which the King and the Duke of York shewed in the prosecution of this business was extraordinary, though they set out ships, and manned them with all the industry and application possible; yet, because the government of Eng• land was mixed **, or composed of kings, lords, and commons, and that in the great concerns of the nation, or in raising of mo. ney, there was a necessity of a parliament; which is, like the
people of whom it is made up, not always of the same mind ++; Cand that the variableness of their climate is eren visible in their
councils; and, besides, since the Duchess of Orleans died soon after her return to France; for these reasons the King of France did not much rely upon any assistanee from England, and so took
his measures in such a manner, that the King of England might 'be assured they must succeed, in case he should fail him; and
therefore he would not suffer the rage of the English against the • Dutch at that time to cool, but he rather endeavoured to plunge
them into a war, by such an action as might correspond to their earnest desire of being revenged.”
And this design soon succeeded; for, the French having notice of the return of the Dutch Smyrna fleet, which were then at sea, they immediately acquainted the King of England with it It, and
told him, that this was a favourable opportunity for him to engage the English in a certain war: they told him, that such a prize
would furnish him with more money in one day, than he could get from his parliament in a year 11 ; and, perhaps, so great a
Page 89. + Page 91. Page 93, ** Page 120.
tt Page 120.
| Page 118. 11 Page 121.
| Page 119.
*** Page 192.
prize might put him, during the whole course of the war, in such a condition, as that he would not stand in need of his par. liament; and that he ought not to let slip such an opportunity, because he certainly knew, that, what success soever it might have, yet his people, who always carried themselves very high upon a prosperous turn of affairs, who were sensible of affronts, would spare for nothing which might carry on the war, wherein they might expect to humble the Dutch, and to revenge the wrongs of their merchants, and of their nation in general, upon those who would dispute the sovereignty of the sea with them.'
Upon these sollicitations the king consented, and sent Sir Robert Holmes with nine men of war into the channel, to expect the com. ing of the Smyrna fleet*. And it had this effect, that though the Dutch (who had some notice of it before) did, in a thick foggy night, escape without any very considerable loss; yet this engaged the English to a war, which was immediately hereupon openly proclaimed by the King of England, against the States.General; which was earnestly pressed by Mr. Colbert de Croissy, who advised him not to delay the striking so signal, as well as so unexpected a stroke t.
How far the causes alledged in the declaration of war, which fol. lowed soon after, and the reasons by which the king endeavoured to persuade his parliament to a hearty concurrence with him in it, agreed with these motives, every man may judge. Whoever consi. ders the carriage of the King of France, in other things, will not wonder at such a piece of treachery, as the publication of these secrets was, whilst King Charles II. was alive: and I believe, that the sending a man to the Bastile for ten days, who was notoriously known to have been employed for this very purpose, did convince as few people of the falsehood of these pretended alliances, as the sending of Mr. Skelton to the tower by King James II. did; which was so very like, that one would think the mock proceed. ings against Mr. L'Abbe Primi, gave a pattern to the King of England, to animadvert upon his own minister, who, by the confes. sion of the French resident at the Hague, acted, by his majesty's order, only the second part of what the Abbot wrote.
LAST CONFESSION, PRAYERS, AND MEDITATIONS
LIEUTENANT JOHN STERN,
Delivered by him on the Cart immediately before his Execution,
To Dr. BURNET:
Together with the last Confession of George Borosky, signed by
him in the prison, and sealed up in the lieutenant's pacquet. With which an account is given of their deportment both in the prison and at the place of their execution, which was in the Pall-Mall, on the tenth of March, in the same place in which they had murdered Thomas Thynn, Esq. the twelfth of Febru. ary before, 1681-2. Written by Gilbert Burnet, D. D. and Anthony Horneck, D. D. London: printed for Richard Chis. well, at the Rose and Crown, in St. Paul's Church-yard, 1682.
Folio, containing twenty-eight pages. An account of the deportment of Captain Vratz, Lieutenant Stern,
and George Borosky, the murderers of Thomas Thynn, Esq. both in the prison, and at their execution.
FOUR days after the barbarous murder of Mr. Thynn, which
, inhuman a fact, I was desired to go and visit the prisoners. I carried Dr. Horneck with me, because I heard that Borosky the Polonian spoke no other language, but Polish and High Dutch. We waited on the captain, but he was unwilling to enter into much discourse with us; and adhered to what he had confessed before the council, that he only intended to fight with Mr. Thynn, and that the Polonian had mistook his orders, when he shot him. The Lieutenant said at first nothing, but that he was in the company of those that committed the fact, without intention to murder any; and if, for that, he should be condemned to die, then said he, Fiat voluntas tua, thy will be done. The Polonian was free and ingenuous in his confession, and expressed great sorrow for what he had done. But, within a few days, I went again, and found the lieutenant wonderfully touched: he told me, that the morning after. he was first taken, he awakened full of horror for what he had done, and the first thing that came in his mind was the ninth verse of Psal. xxxii. •Be ye not as the horse and the mule, which have no understanding, whose mouth must be held in with bit and bri. dle.' This, he applied to the irons in which he was, and then began to reflect what a beast he had been, and that it was fit he should
be shut up in a prison, and fettered as he then was; upon that he looked back with horror, on what he had done, and began to cry earnestly to God, for mercy.
He continued some days in doubt whether he ought to confess or not, and was in that anxiety, when I saw him first, which made him say nothing at that time; but he said afterwards, he found such inward compunction in his mind, that he wished to die; he grew weary of life, and hated himself so much, that he was glad to do every thing that was lawful, which might be a means to bring him to be a publiek example, and to suffer in this world for his sin. Upon that, he made his confession to the justices of peace, and found himself much at ease, when that was done. He turned him. self after that wholly to God, and found that, then, he was in. tirely out of the snares of satan, and the hold which the devil had of him. All the rest of the time of his imprisonment, except a few hours of sleep towards the mornings, he spent in reading the bible, and some other good books, particularly Dilheren's Way to Happiness, in High Dutch, which he valued highly; and Thomas a Kempis's book of the Imitation of Christ, and some other books of devotion. He thought it was also fit for him to leave, in writing, a warning behind him to others, to learn by his example; he was not bred to letters, and so, he said, he knew what he should write, would appear simple to those that delighted in learning, or polite language; but he said, he would write from his heart, and prayed God, it might have a good effect upon others. He had travelled up and down Europe, three and twenty years, being then in the forty-second year of his age, and he had observed many things, though he had no literature; so, he said, he would leave an exhortation to all sorts of people, with whom he had conversed, and touch those sins which he himself had known many of them guilty of; and he said, that, if his writing should become publick in Germany, or in other places where he had been, he was confident that many might read it, who would know, for what reason he had writ many passages in it, and might, perhaps, be moved to reflect on those sins, of which they knew themselves guilty, and would understand his meaning, better than any others could. When he had writ it, he gave it to me four days before his execution; he had dashed and changed it in many passages, which he said he writ at first, when there was yet too much of the spirit of the world in him, but he had reviewed it, and had cor, rected it in the best manner he could. He said, he had never writ so much in his whole life, and so he did not doubt, but there would appear great weakness in some parts of it, but he had writ it in the simplicity of his heart. To this he added a short account of his life, and a confession of the crime, for which he was to suffer.
He often wished that, from him, all that stood might take heed lest they fell; for once he thought himself as little capable of committing such a crime, which should bring him to such an end, as any man was. He was the son, by the left-hand, of a Baron of Sweden, who was made a Count, before he died; but he did not
carry his name, because he was not legitimate, and he would not have his father's name to be published, because he was now such a reproach to it. He applied himself to the war, but in all these twenty-three years, in which he had been travelling up and down the world, he had led a much more innocent life, than might be guessed, from such a conclusion of it. He had early a sense of the fear of God, before he came abroad into the world, which never left him quite, till a few days before this fact; but was al. ways such a curb on him, that he never fell into those sins, that are too common among those that follow the war. He was so little guilty of plunder and oppression, in his quarters, that he said, he was sure, less than twenty crowns would pay all, that had been ever taken by him. He was never guilty of any act, either of cru. elty or treachery, of rapes or blasphemies, was never false at play, had not the custom of swearing, nor did he fail daily to pray to God. He had always a compassionate nature. He was not a little lifted up with the courage that he had shewed on many occasions, and had been very sensible of all those things which are called points of honour. He was, for many years, a papist, when he served in Flanders; but he said, he was never perfectly satisfied in his own mind, with that religion, and detested the idolatry that he saw in it. But he was mueh corrupted with that principle, which is too common in the world, that, if a man was honest and good, he might be saved in any religion; and that it was fit to be of the reli. gion of the country where one lived: Yet, he said, he could never look on popery, but as a contrivance of priests, for governing the world. About a year ago, he changed his religion, and returned to be of the Augsbourg confession. Last summer he came to England, being then out of employment, and intended to have got into the guards; he grew acquainted with (or found) Captain Vratz here, for I do not remember well, whether he knew him first here, or not.
For the particulars of his confession, I refer the reader to his own paper; only one passage, which he has not mentioned, will shew clearly the temper of his mind, when he writ it: he told me, that after the captain and he had talked of sundry poniards, for giving Mr. Thynn the fatal stroke, the captain spoke to him one day of a musquetoon, and told him they were now resolved to do it by that: he answered, that he thought that was by no means a proper in. strument for it, since it would be seen in a man's hand, before it could be discharged, and so they might be catched, before the busi. ness should be done; therefore he thought a pistol was much bet. ter: but the captain answered, that the count's council were of another mind; and when the lieutenant asked, who they were, he named three outlandish men. But, three or four days after that, he told me, that, though that passage was very true, yet he did not know, but the captain might only name those persons to amuse him, and he did not believe it was true of one of the three; and, if it was not true of him, then there was reason to doubt, if what he