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´╗┐Title: Royalty Restored; Or, London under Charles II
Author: Molloy, J. Fitzgerald (Joseph Fitzgerald), 1858-1908
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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   In common with all readers of the English language, I owe you a
   debt of gratitude, the which I rejoice to acknowledge, even in so
   poor a manner as by dedicating this work to you.

   Believe me,

   Faithfully yours always,



No social history of the court of Charles II. has heretofore been
written. The Grammont Memoirs, devoid of date and detail, and addressed
"to those who read only for amusement," present but brief imperfect
sketches of the wits and beauties who thronged the court of the merry
monarch whilst the brilliant Frenchman sojourned in England. Pepys,
during the first nine years of the Restoration, narrates such gossip as
reached him regarding Whitehall and the practices that obtained there.
Evelyn records some trifling actions of the king and his courtiers,
with a view of pointing a moral, rather than from a desire of adorning a

To supply this want in our literature, I have endeavoured to present a
picture of the domestic life of a king, whose name recalls pages of the
brightest romance and strangest gallantry in our chronicles. To this I
have added a study of London during his reign, taken as far as possible
from rare, and invariably from authentic sources. It will readily be
seen this work, embracing such subjects, could alone have resulted from
careful study and untiring consultation of diaries, records, memoirs,
letters, pamphlets, tracts, and papers left by contemporaries
familiar with the court and capital. The accomplishment of such a task
necessitated an expenditure of time, and devotion to labour, such as in
these fretful and impatient days is seldom bestowed on work.

As in previous volumes I have writ no fact is set down without
authority, so likewise the same rule is pursued in these; and for such
as desire to test the accuracy thereof, or follow at further length
statements necessarily abbreviated, a list is appended of the principal
literature consulted. And inasmuch as I have found pleasure in this
work, so may my gentle readers derive profit therefrom; and as I have
laboured, so may they enjoy. Expressing which fair wishes, and moreover
commending myself unto their love and service, I humbly take my leave.



"Elenchus Motuum Nuperorum." Heath's "Flagellum; or, the Life and Death
of Oliver Cromwell." Banks' "Life of Cromwell." "Review of the Political
Life of Cromwell." "A Modest Vindication of Oliver Cromwell." "The
Machivilian Cromwellist." Kimber's "Life of Cromwell." "The World
Mistaken in Oliver Cromwell"(1668). "A Letter of Comfort to Richard
Cromwell." "Letters from Fairfax to Cromwell." "Cromwell's Letters and
Speeches." "A Collection of Several Passages concerning Cromwell in his
Sickness." "The Protector's Declaration against the Royal Family of the
Stuarts." "Memoirs of Cromwell and his Children, supposed to be written
by himself." "Narrative of the Proceedings of the English Army in
Scotland." "An Account of the Last Houres of the late renowned Oliver,
Lord Protector" (1659). "Sedition Scourged." Heath's "Chronicles of the
late Intestine War." Welwood's "Memoirs of Transactions in England."
"Memoirs of Edmund Ludlow, M.P., in the year 1640." Forster's "Statesmen
of the Commonwealth." "Killing No Murther." Thurloe's "State Papers."
Lord Clarendon's "State Papers." Tatham's "Aqua Triumphalis." "The
Public Intelligencer." "Mercurius Politicus." "The Parliamentary
Intelligencer." Lyon's "Personal History of Charles II." "The Boscobel
Tracts, relating to the Escape of Charles II." "An Exact Narrative of
his Majesty's Escape from Worcester." Several Passages relating to the
"Declared King of Scots both by Sea and Land." "Charles II.'s Declaration
to his Loving Subjects in the Kingdom of England." "England's Joy; or,
a Relation of the most Remarkable Passages from his Majesty's Arrival
at Dover to his Entrance at Whitehall." "Copies of Two Papers written
by the King." "His Majesty's Gracious Message to General Monk." "King
Charles, His Starre." "A Speech spoken by a Blew-Coat of Christ's
Hospital to his Sacred Majesty." "Monarchy Revived." "The History of
Charles II., by a Person of Quality." Lady Fanshawe's "Memoirs." "The
Character of Charles II., written by an Impartial Hand and exposed to
Public View." "Sports and Pastimes of the English People." "A History
of Domestic Manners and Sentiments in England." Wright's "Homes of Other
Days." Idalcomb's "Anecdotes of Manners and Customs of London." Pepys'
"Diary." Evelyn's "Diary." Grammont's "Memoirs." Lord Romney's "Diary
of the Times of Charles II." "The Life and Adventures of Colonel Blood."
"Diary of Dr. Edward Lake, Court Chaplain." Bishop Burnet's "History of
His Own Times." Oldmixon's "Court Tales." Madame Dunois' "Memoirs of
the English Court." Heath's "Glories and Triumphs of Charles II."
"Continuation of the Life of Edward, Earl of Clarendon." "Original
Correspondence of Lord Clarendon." "The Memoirs of Sir John Reresby."
Lister's "Life of Clarendon. Brain Fairfax's "Memoirs of the Duke of
Buckingham." "Letters of Philip, Second Earl of Chesterfield." Aubrey's
"Memoirs." "The Life of Mr. Anthony a Wood, written by Himself." Elias
Ashmole's "Memoirs of his Life." Luttrell's "Diary." "The Althorp
Memoirs" (privately printed). Lord Broghill's "Memoirs." "Memoir of
Barbara, Duchess of Cleveland" (privately printed). Aubrey's "Lives
of Eminent Men." Count Magalotti's "Travels in England." "The Secret
History of Whitehall: consisting of Secret Memoirs which have hitherto
lain conceal'd as not being discoverable by any other hand." "Athenae
Oxonienses." Lord Rochester's Works. Brown's "Miscellanea Aulica." The
Works of Andrew Marvell. "State Tracts, relating to the Government
from the year 1660 to 1689." "Antiquities of the Crown and State of
Old England." "Narrative of the Families exposed to the Great Plague of
London." "Loimologia; or, an Historical Account of the Plague in 1665."
"A Collection of very Valuable and Scarce Pieces relating to the Last
Plague in 1665." "London's Dreadful Visitation." "Letter of Dr, Hedges
to a Person of Quality." "God's Terrible Voice in the City: a Narrative
of the late Dreadful Judgments by Plague and Fire." "Pestis; a
Collection of Scarce Papers relating to the Plague." "An Account of the
Fire of London, published by authority." Lord Clarendon's "Account of
the Great Fire." "A Voyage into England, containing many things relating
to the State of Learning, Religion, and other Curiosities of that
Kingdom," by Mons. Sorbiere. Carte's "Life of James, Duke of Ormond."
Carte's "History of England." Lord Somers' "Collection of Scarce and
Valuable Tracts." "Memoirs of the Duchess of Mazarine." "Secret History
of the Duchess of Portsmouth." St. Evremond's "Memoirs." "Curialia;
or, an Historical Account of some Branches of the Royal Household."
"Parliamentary History." Oldmixon's "History of the Stuarts." Ellis's
"Original Letters." Charles James Fox's "History of James II." Sir
George L'Estrange's "Brief History of the Times." Lord Romney's "Diary
of the Times of Charles II." Clarke's "Life of James II." "Vindication
of the English Catholics." "The Tryals, Conviction and Sentence of Titus
Oates." "A Modest Vindication of Oates." "Tracts on the Popish Plot."
Macpherson's "Original Papers." A. Marvell's "Account of Popery."
"An Exact Discovery of the Mystery of Iniquity as Practised among the
Jesuits." Smith's "Streets of London." "London Cries." Seymour's "Survey
of the Cities of London and Westminster." Stow's "Survey of London
and Westminster." "Angliae Metropolis." Dr. Laune's "Present State of
London, 1681." Sir Roger North's "Examn." "The Character of a Coffee
House." Stow's "Chronicles of Fashion." Fairholt's "Costume in England."
"A Just and Seasonable Reprehension of Naked Breasts and Shoulders."
Sir William Petty's "Observations of the City of London." John Ogilvy's
"London Surveyed." R. Burton's "Historical Remarks." Dr. Birch's
"History of the Royal Society of London." "A Century of Inventions."
Wild's "History of the Royal Society." "The Philosophical Transactions
of the Royal Society." Richardson's "Life of Milton." Philip's "Life of
Milton." Johnson's "Lives of the Poets." Aubrey's "Collections for
the Life of Milton." Langbaine's "Lives and Characters of the
English Dramatic Poets." "Some Remarkable Passages in the Life of Mr.
Wycherley." "Some Account of what Occurred at the King's Death," by
Richard Huddlestone, O.S.B. "A True Narrative of the late King's Death."



Cromwell is sick unto death.--Fears and suspicions.--Killing no
Murder.--A memorable storm.--The end of all.--Richard Cromwell
made Protector,--He refuses to shed blood. Disturbance and
dissatisfaction.--Downfall of Richard.--Charles Stuart proclaimed
king.--Rejoicement of the nation.--The king comes into his own.--Entry
into London.--Public joy and festivity.


The story of the king's escape.--He accepts the Covenant, and lands in
Scotland.--Crowned at Scone.--Proclaimed king at Carlisle.--The
battle of Worcester,--Bravery of Charles.--Disloyalty of the Scottish
cavalry.--The Royalists defeated.--The king's flight.--Seeks refuge
in Boscobel Wood. The faithful Pendrells.--Striving to cross the
Severn.--Hiding in an oak tree.--Sheltered by Master Lane. Sets out
with Mistress Lane.--Perilous escapes.--On the road.--The king is
recognised.--Strange adventures.--His last night in England.


Celebration of the king's return. Those who flocked to Whitehall.--My
Lord Cleveland's gentlemen.--Sir Thomas Allen's supper.--Touching for
king's evil.--That none might lose their labour--The man with the fungus
nose.--The memory of the regicides.--Cromwell's effigy.--Ghastly scene
at Tyburn.--The king's clemency.--The Coronation procession.--Sights and
scenes by the way.--His majesty is crowned


The king's character.--His proverbial grace.--He tells a story well.--"A
warmth and sweetness of the blood."--Beautiful Barbara Palmer.--Her
intrigue with my Lord Chesterfield.--James, Duke of York. His
early days.--Escape from St. James's.--Fights in the service of
France.--Marriage with Anne Hyde.--Sensation at Court.--The Duke of
Gloucester's death.--The Princess of Orange.--Schemes against the
Duke of York's peace.--The "lewd informer."--Anne Hyde is acknowledged
Duchess of York.


Morality of the restoration.--Puritan piety.--Cromwell's
intrigues.--Conduct of women under the Republic.--Some notable
courtiers.--The Duke of Ormond and his family.--Lord St. Albans and
Henry Jermyn.--His Grace of Buckingham and Mistress Fairfax.--Lord
Rochester.--Delights all hearts.--The king's projected
marriage.--Catherine of Braganza.--His majesty's speech.--A royal
love-letter.--The new queen sets sail.


The king's intrigue with Barbara Palmer.--The queen arrives at
Portsmouth.--Visited by the Duke of York.--The king leaves town.--First
interview with his bride.--His letter to the lord chancellor.--Royal
marriage and festivities.--Arrival at Hampton Court Palace.--Prospects
of a happy union.--Lady Castlemaine gives birth to a second child.--The
king's infatuation.--Mistress and wife.--The queen's misery.--The king's
cruelty.--Lord Clarendon's messages.--His majesty resolves to break the
queen's spirit.--End of the domestic quarrel.


Their majesties arrive at Whitehall.--My Lady Castlemaine a
spectator.--Young Mr. Crofts.--New arrivals at court.--The Hamilton
family.--The Chevalier de Grammont.--Mrs. Middleton and Miss Kirke.--At
the queen's ball.--La belle Hamilton.--The queen mother at Somerset
House.--The Duke of Monmouth's marriage.--Fair Frances Stuart.--Those
who court her favour.--The king's passion.


The Duke of York's intrigues.--My Lady Chesterfield and his royal
highness.--The story of Lady Southesk's love,--Lord Arran plays the
guitar.--Lord Chesterfield is jealous.--The countess is taken from
court.--Mistress Margaret Brooks and the king.--Lady Denham and the
duke.--Sir John goes mad.--My lady is poisoned.


Court life under the merry monarch.--Riding in Hyde Park.--Sailing on
the Thames.--Ball at Whitehall.--Petit soupers.--What happened at
Lady Gerrard's.--Lady Castlemaine quarrels with the king.--Flight to
Richmond.--The queen falls ill.--The king's grief and remorse.--Her
majesty speaks.--Her secret sorrow finds voice in delirium.--Frances
Stuart has hopes.--The queen recovers.


Notorious courtiers.--My Lord Rochester's satires.--Places a watch on
certain ladies of quality.--His majesty becomes indignant.--Rochester
retires to the country.--Dons a disguise and returns to town.--Practises
astrology.--Two maids of honour seek adventure.--Mishaps which befell
them.--Rochester forgiven.--The Duke of Buckingham.--Lady Shrewsbury
and her victims.--Captain Howard's duel.--Lord Shrewsbury avenges
his honour.--A strange story.--Colonel Blood attempts an
abduction.--Endeavours to steal the regalia.--The king converses with


Terror falls upon the people.--Rumours of a plague.--A sign in the
heavens.--Flight from the capital.--Preparations against the dreaded
enemy.--Dr. Boghurst's testimony.--God's terrible voice in the
city.--Rules made by the lord mayor.--Massacre of animals.--O, dire
death!--Spread of the distemper.--Horrible sights.--State of the
deserted capital.--"Bring out your dead."--Ashes to ashes.--Fires are
lighted.--Relief of the poor.--The mortality bills.


A cry of fire by night.--Fright and confusion.--The lord mayor is
unmanned.--Spread of the flames.--Condition of the streets.--Distressful
scenes.--Destruction of the Royal Exchange.--Efforts of the king and the
Duke of York.--Strange rumours and alarms, St. Paul's is doomed.--The
flames checked.--A ruined city as seen by day and night.--Wretched state
of the people.--Investigation into the origin of the fire.--A new city


The court repairs to Oxford--Lady Castlemaine's son.--Their majesties
return to Whitehall.--The king quarrels with his mistress.--Miss Stuart
contemplates marriage.--Lady Castlemaine attempts revenge.--Charles
makes an unpleasant discovery.--The maid of honour elopes.--His majesty
rows down the Thames.--Lady Castlemaine's intrigues.--Fresh quarrels at
court.--The king on his knees.


The kingdom in peril.--The chancellor falls under his majesty's
displeasure.--The Duke of Buckingham's mimicry.--Lady Castlemaine's
malice.--Lord Clarendon's fall.--The Duke of Ormond offends the king's
mistress.--She covers him with abuse.--Plots against the Duke of
York.--Schemes for a royal divorce.--Moll Davis and Nell Gwynn.--The
king and the comedian.--Lady Castlemaine abandons herself to great
disorders.--Young Jack Spencer.--The countess intrigues with an
acrobat.--Talk of the town.--The mistress created a duchess.


Louise de Querouaille.--The Triple Alliance.--Louise is created Duchess
of Portsmouth,--Her grace and the impudent comedian.--Madam Ellen moves
in society. The young Duke of St. Albans.--Strange story of the
Duchess of Mazarine.--Entertaining the wits at Chelsea.--Luxurious
suppers.--profligacy and wit.


A storm threatens the kingdom--The Duke of York is touched in his
conscience.--His interview with Father Simons.--The king declares his
mind.--The Duchess of York becomes a catholic.--The circumstances of her
death.--The Test Act introduced.--Agitation of the nation.--The Duke
of York marries again.--Lord Shaftesbury's schemes.--The Duke of
Monmouth.--William of Orange and the Princess Mary.--Their marriage and
departure from England.


The threatened storm bursts.--History of Titus Oates and Dr. Tonge.--A
dark scheme concocted.--The king is warned of danger.--The narrative of
a horrid plot laid before the treasurer.--Forged letters.--Titus Oates
before the council.--His blunders.--A mysterious murder.--Terror of the
citizens.--Lord Shaftesbury's schemes.--Papists are banished from the
capital.--Catholic peers committed to the Tower.--Oates is encouraged.


Reward for the discovery of murderers.--Bedlow's character
and evidence.--His strange story.--Development of the "horrid
plot."--William Staley is made a victim.--Three Jesuits hung.--Titus
Oates pronounced the saviour of his country.--Striving to ruin the
queen.--Monstrous story of Bedlow and Oates.--The king protects
her majesty.--Five Jesuits executed.--Fresh rumours concerning
the papists.--Bill to exclude the Duke of York.--Lord Stafford is
tried.--Scene at Tower Hill.--Fate of the conspirators.


London under Charles II.--Condition and appearance of the
thoroughfares.--Coffee is first drunk in the capital.--Taverns and
their frequenters.--The city by night.--Wicked people do creep
about.--Companies of young gentlemen.--The Duke of Monmouth kills
a beadle.--Sir Charles Sedley's frolic.--Stately houses of the
nobility.--St. James's Park.--Amusement of the town.--At Bartholomew
Fair.--Bull, bear, and dog fights.--Some quaint sports.


Court customs in the days of the merry monarch.--Dining in public.--The
Duke of Tuscany's supper to the king.--Entertainment of guests by
mountebanks.--Gaming at court.--Lady Castlemaine's losses.--A fatal
duel.--Dress of the period.--Riding-habits first seen.--His majesty
invents a national costume.--Introduction of the penny post.--Divorce
suits are known.--Society of Antiquaries.--Lord Worcester's
inventions.--The Duchess of Newcastle.


A period rich in literature.--John Milton's early life.--Writing
"Paradise Lost."--Its publication and success.--His later works and
death.--John Dryden gossips with wits and players.--Lord Rochester's
revenge.--Elkanah Settle.--John Crowne.--Thomas Otway rich in
miseries.--Dryden assailed by villains.--The ingenious Abraham
Cowley.--The author of "Hudibras."--Young Will Wycherley and Lady
Castlemaine. The story of his marriage.--Andrew Marvell, poet and
politician.--John Bunyan.


Time's flight leaves the king unchanged.--The Rye House
conspiracy.--Profligacy of the court.--The three duchesses.--The king
is taken ill.--The capital in consternation.--Dr. Ken questions his
majesty.--A Benedictine monk is sent for.--Charles professes catholicity
and receives the Sacraments.--Farewell to all.--His last night on
earth.--Daybreak and death.--He rests in peace.




  Cromwell is sick unto death.--Fears and suspicions.--Killing no
  Murder.--A memorable storm.--The end of all.--Richard Cromwell
  made Protector.--He refuses to shed blood.--Disturbance and
  dissatisfaction.--Downfall of Richard.--Charles Stuart proclaimed
  king.--Rejoicement of the nation.--The king comes into his own.--Entry
  into London.--Public joy and satisfaction.

On the 30th of January, 1649, Charles I. was beheaded. In the last days
of August in the year of grace 1658, Oliver Cromwell lay sick unto death
at the Palace of Whitehall. On the 27th day of June in the previous
year, he had, in the Presence of the Judges of the land, the Lord
Mayor and Aldermen of the City, and Members of Parliament assembled at
Westminster Hall, seated himself on the coronation chair of the Stuarts,
assumed the title of Lord Protector, donned a robe of violet velvet,
girt his loins with a sword of state, and grasped the sceptre, symbolic
of kingly power. From that hour distrust beset his days, his nights were
fraught with fear. All his keen and subtle foresight, his strong and
restless energies, had since then been exerted in suppressing plots
against his power, and detecting schemes against his life, concocted
by the Republicans whose liberty he had betrayed, and by the Royalists
whose king he had beheaded.

Soon after he had assumed the title of Lord High Protector, a most
daring pamphlet, openly advocating his assassination, was circulated
in vast numbers throughout the kingdom. It was entitled "Killing no
Murder," and was dedicated in language outrageously bold to His Highness
Oliver Cromwell. "To your Highness justly belongs the honour of dying
for the people," it stated, "and it cannot but be an unspeakable
consolation to you, in the last moments of your life, to consider with
how much benefit to the world you are likely to leave it. It is then
only, my lord, the titles you now usurp will be truly yours; you will
then be, indeed, the deliverer of your country, and free it from a
bondage little inferior to that from which Moses delivered his, you
will then be that true reformer which you would now be thought; religion
shall then be restored, liberty asserted, and Parliaments have those
privileges they have sought for. All this we hope from your Highness's
happy expiration. To hasten this great good is the chief end of my
writing this paper; and if it have the effects I hope it will, your
Highness will quickly be out of the reach of men's malice, and your
enemies will only be able to wound you in your memory, which strokes you
will not feel."

The possession of life becomes dearest when its forfeiture is
threatened, and therefore Cromwell took all possible means to guard
against treachery--the only foe he feared, and feared exceedingly. "His
sleeps were disturbed with the apprehensions of those dangers the day
presented unto him in the approaches of any strange face, whose motion
he would most fixedly attend," writes James Heath, gentleman, in his
"Chronicles," published in 1675. "Above all, he very carefully observed
such whose mind or aspect were featured with any chearful and debonair
lineaments; for such he boded were they that would despatch him; to that
purpose he always went secretly armed, both offensive and defensive;
and never stirred without a great guard. In his usual journey between
Whitehall and Hampton Court, by several roads, he drove full speed in
the summer time, making such a dust with his life-guard, part before and
part behinde, at a convenient distance, for fear of choaking him with
it, that one could hardly see for a quarter of an hour together, and
always came in some private way or other." The same authority, in his
"Life of Cromwell," states of him, "It was his constant custom to shift
and change his lodging, to which he passed through twenty several locks,
and out of which he had four or five ways to avoid pursuit." Welwood, in
his "Memoirs," adds the Protector wore a coat of mail beneath his dress,
and carried a poniard under his cloak.

Nor was this all. According to the "Chronicle of the late Intestine
War," Cromwell "would sometimes pretend to be merry, and invite persons,
of whom he had some suspicion, to his cups, and then drill out of their
open hearts such secrets as he wisht for. He had freaks also to divert
the vexations of his misgiving thoughts, calling on by the beat of drum
his footguards, like a kennel of hounds to snatch away the scraps and
reliques of his table. He said every man's hand was against him,
and that he ran daily into further perplexities, out of which it was
impossible to extricate, or secure himself therein, without running
into further danger; so that he began to alter much in the tenour of
his former converse, and to run and transform into the manners of the
ancient tyrants, thinking to please and mitigate his own tortures with
the sufferings of others."

But now the fate his vigilance had hitherto combated at last overtook
him in a manner impossible to evade. He was attacked by divers
infirmities, but for some time made no outward sign of his suffering,
until one day five physicians came and waited on him, as Dr. George Bate
states in his ELENCHUS MOTUUM NUPERORUM. And one of them, feeling
his pulse, declared his Highness suffered from an intermittent fever;
hearing which "he looked pale, fell into a cold sweat, almost fainted
away, and orders himself to be carried to bed." His fright, however,
was but momentary. He was resolved to live. He had succeeded in raising
himself to a position of vast power, but had failed in attaining the
great object of his ambition--the crowned sovereignty of the nation he
had stirred to its centre, and conquered to its furthest limits. Brought
face to face with death, his indomitable will, which had shaped untoward
circumstances to his accord with a force like unto fate itself, now
determined to conquer his shadowy enemy which alone intercepted his path
to the throne. Therefore as he lay in bed he said to those around him
with that sanctity of speech which had cloaked his cruellest deeds and
dissembled his most ambitious designs, "I would be willing to live to be
further serviceable to God and his people."

As desires of waking hours are answered in sleep, so in response to his
nervous craving for life he had delusive assurances of health through
the special bounty of Providence. He was therefore presently able
to announce he "had very great discoveries of the Lord to him in his
sickness, and hath some certainty of being restored;" as Fleetwood, his
son-in-law, wrote on the 24th of August in this same year.

Accordingly, when one of the physicians came to him next morning, the
High Protector said, "Why do you look sad?" To which the man of lore
replied evasively, "So it becomes anyone who had the weighty care of
his life and health upon him." Then Cromwell to this purpose spoke: "You
think I shall die; I tell you I shall not die this bout; I am sure on't.
Don't think I am mad. I speak the words of truth upon surer grounds than
Galen or your Hippocrates furnish you with. God Almighty himself hath
given that answer, not to my prayers alone, but also to the prayers of
those who entertain a stricter commerce and greater intimacy with him.
Ye may have skill in the nature of things, yet nature can do more than
all physicians put together, and God is far above nature." The doctor
besought him to rest, and left the room. Outside he met one of his
colleagues, to whom he gave it as his opinion their patient had grown
light-headed, and he repeated the words which Cromwell had spoken.
"Then," said his brother-physician, "you are certainly a stranger in
this house; don't you know what was done last night? The chaplain and
all their friends being dispersed into several parts of the palace
have prayed to God for his health, and they all heard the voice of God
saying, 'He will recover,' and so they are all certain of it."

"Never, indeed, was there a greater stock of prayers going on for any
man," as Thurlow, his secretary, writes. So sure were those around him
that Providence must hearken to and grant the fulfilment of such
desires as they thought well to express, that, as Thomas Goodwin, one of
Cromwell's chaplains, said, "We asked not for the Protector's life, for
we were assured He had too great things for this man to do, to remove
him yet; but we prayed for his speedy recovery, because his life and
presence were so necessary to divers things then of great moment to be
despatched." When this Puritanical fanatic was presently disappointed,
Bishop Burnet narrates "he had the impudence to say to God, 'Thou hast
deceived us.'"

Meanwhile the Protector lay writhing in pain and terror. His mind was
sorely troubled at remembrance of the last words spoken by his daughter
Elizabeth, who had threatened judgments upon him because of his refusal
to save the King; whilst his body was grievously racked with a tertian
fever, and a foul humour which, beginning in his foot, worked its way
steadily to his heart. Moreover, some insight regarding his future
seemed given to him in his last days, for he appeared, as Ludlow, his
contemporary, states, "above all concerned for the reproaches he saw men
would cast upon his name, in tramping upon his ashes when dead."

On the 30th of August his danger became evident even to himself, and
all hope of life left him. For hours after the certain approach of death
became undeniably certain, he remained quiet and speechless, seemingly
heedless of the exhortation and prayers of his chaplains, till suddenly
turning to one of them, he whispered, "Tell me, is it possible to fall
from grace?" The preacher had a soothing reply ready: "It is not," he
answered. "Then," exclaimed this unhappy man, whose soul was red with
the blood of thousands of his countrymen, "I am safe, for I know I was
once in grace." Anon he cries out, whilst tossing wildly on his bed,
"Lord, although I am a miserable and a wretched creature, I am in
covenant with Thee through grace, and I may and will come to Thee for
Thy people. Pardon such as desire to trample upon the dust of a poor
worm. And give us a good night if it be Thy pleasure. Amen."

It was now the 2nd of September. As the evening of that day approached
he fell into a stupor, and those who watched him thought the end had

Within the darkened chamber in Whitehall all was silence and gloom;
without all was tumult and fear. Before the gates of the palace a
turbulent crowd of soldiers and citizens had gathered in impatient
anxiety. Those he had raised to power, those whose fortunes depended on
his life, were steeped in gloom; those whose principles he had outraged
by his usurpation, those whose position he had crushed by his sway,
rejoiced at heart. Not only the capital, but the whole nation, was
divided into factions which one strong hand alone had been able to
control; and terror, begotten by dire remembrances of civil war and
bloodshed, abode with all lovers of peace.

As evening closed in, the elements appeared in unison with the
distracted condition of the kingdom. Dark clouds, seeming of ominous
import to men's minds, gathered in the heavens, to be presently torn
asunder and hurried in wild flight by tempestuous winds across the
troubled sky. As night deepened, the gale steadily increased, until it
raged in boundless fury above the whole island and the seas that rolled
around its shores. In town houses rocked on their foundations, turrets
and steeples were flung from their places; in the country great trees
were uprooted, corn-stacks levelled to the ground, and winter fruits
destroyed; whilst at sea ships sank to rise no more. This memorable
storm lasted all night, and continued until three o'clock next
afternoon, when Cromwell expired.

His body was immediately embalmed, but was of necessity interred in
great haste. Westminster Abbey, the last home of kings and princes, was
selected as the fittest resting-place for the regicide. Though it was
impossible to honour his remains by stately ceremonials, his followers
were not content to let the occasion of his death pass with-out
commemoration. They therefore had a waxen image of him made, which they
resolved to surround with all the pomp and circumstances of royalty. For
this purpose they carried it to Somerset House--one of the late King's
palaces--and placed it on a couch of crimson velvet beneath a canopy of
state. Upon its shoulders they hung a purple mantle, in its right hand
they placed a golden sceptre, and by its side they laid an imperial
crown, probably the same which, according to Welwood, the Protector had
secretly caused to be made and conveyed to Whitehall with a view to his
coronation. The walls and ceiling of the room in which the effigy lay
were covered by sable velvet; the passages leading to it crowded with
soldiery. After a few weeks the town grew tired of this sight, when the
waxen image was taken to another apartment, hung with rich velvets and
golden tissue, and otherwise adorned to symbolize heaven, when it was
placed upon a throne, clad "in a shirt of fine Holland lace, doublet
and breeches of Spanish fashion with great skirts, silk stockings,
shoe-strings and gaiters suitable, and black Spanish leather shoes."
Over this attire was flung a cloak of purple velvet, and on his head
was placed a crown with many precious stones. The room was then lit, as
Ludlow narrates, "by four or five hundred candles set in flat shining
candlesticks, so placed round near the roof that the light they gave
seemed like the rays of the sun, by all which he was represented to be
now in a state of glory." Lest, indeed, there should be any doubt as to
the place where his soul abode, Sterry, the Puritan preacher, imparted
the information to all, that the Protector "now sat with Christ at the
right hand of the Father."

But this pomp and state in no may overawed the people, who, by pelting
with mire Cromwell's escutcheon placed above the great gate of Somerset
House gave evidence of the contempt in which they held his memory. After
a lapse of over two months from the day of his death, the effigy was
carried to Westminster Abbey with more than regal ceremony, the expenses
of his lying-in-state and of his funeral procession amounting, as stated
by Walker and Noble, to upwards of L29,000. "It was the joyfullest
funeral I ever saw," writes Evelyn, "for there were none that cried but
dogs, which the soldiers hooted away with a barbarous noise, drinking
and taking tobacco as they went."

A little while before his death Cromwell had named his eldest surviving
son, Richard, as his successor, and he was accordingly declared
Protector, with the apparent consent of the council, soldiers, and
citizens. Nor did the declaration cause any excitement, "There is not
a dog who wags his tongue, so profound is the calm which we are in,"
writes Thurlow to Oliver's second son, Henry, then Lord Lieutenant of
Ireland. But if the nation in its dejection made no signs of resistance,
neither did it give any indications of satisfaction, and Richard was
proclaimed "with as few expressions of joy as had ever been observed on
a like occasion." For a brief while a stupor seemed to lull the
factious party spirit which was shortly to plunge the country into
fresh difficulties. The Cromwellians and Republicans foresaw resistless
strife, and the Royalists quietly and hopefully abided results.

Nor had they long to wait. In the new Parliament assembled in January,
1659, the Republicans showed themselves numerous and bold beyond
measure, and hesitated to recognise Richard Cromwell as successor to
the Protectorate. However, on the 14th of the following month the
Cromwellians gained the upper hand, when Richard was confirmed in his
title of "Lord Protector, and First Magistrate of England, Scotland, and
Ireland, with all the territories depending thereon." Further discussion
quickly followed. "One party thinks the Protectorate cannot last; the
other that the Republican cannot raise itself again; the indifferent
hope that both will be right. It is easy to foretell the upshot,"
writes Hyde. The disunion spread rapidly and widely; not only was the
Parliament divided against itself, but so likewise was the army; and the
new Protector had neither the courage nor the ability to put down strife
with a strong hand. Richard Cromwell was a man of peaceful disposition,
gentle manners and unambitious mind, whom fate had forced into a
position for which he was in no way fitted. By one of those strange
contradictions which nature sometimes produces, he differed in all
things from his father; for not only was he pleasure-loving, joyous,
and humane, but he was, moreover, a Royalist at heart, and continued in
friendship with the Cavaliers up to the period of his proclamation as
Protector. It has been stated that, falling on his knees, he entreated
his father to spare the life of Charles I.; it is certain he remained
inactive whilst the civil wars devastated the land; and there is
evidence to show that, during the seven months and twenty-eight days of
his Protectorship, he shrank from the perpetration of cruelty and
crime. Accordingly, when those who had at first supported his authority
eventually conspired against him, he refrained from using his power to
crush them. At this his friends were wrath. "It is time to look about
you," said Lord Howard, speaking with the bluntness of a friend. "Empire
and command are not now the question. Your person, your life are in
peril. You are the son of Cromwell; show yourself worthy to be his son.
This business requires a bold stroke, and must be supported by a good
head. Do not suffer yourself to be daunted. I will rid you of your
enemies: do you stand by me, and only back my zeal for your honour with
your name; my head shall answer for the consequences."

Colonel Ingoldsby seconded the advice Lord Howard gave, but Richard
Cromwell hearkened to neither. "I have never done anybody any harm,
and never will," said he, "will not have a drop of blood spilt for the
preservation of my greatness, which is a burden to me." At this Lord
Howard was indignant. "Do you think," he asked, "this moderation of
yours will repair the wrong your family has committed by its elevation?
Everybody knows that by violence your father procured the death of the
late king, and kept his sons in banishment: mercy in the present state
of affairs is unreasonable. Lay aside this pussillanimity; every moment
is precious; your enemies spend the time in acting which we waste
in consulting." "Talk no more of it," answered the Protector. "I am
thankful for your friendship, but violent counsels suit not with me."

The climax was at hand; his fall was but a question of time. "A
wonderfull and suddaine change in ye face of ye publiq," writes Evelyn,
on the 25th of April, 1659. "Ye new Protector Richard slighted; several
pretenders and parties strove for the Government; all anarchy and
confusion. Lord have mercy on us!"

Before the month of May had expired, the House of Commons commissioned
two of its members to bid Richard Cromwell leave the palace of
Whitehall, and obtain his signature to a deed wherein he acknowledged
complete submission to Parliament. His brief inglorious reign was
therefore at an end. "As with other men," he wrote to the House of
Commons, "I expect protection from the present Government: I do hold
myself obliged to demean myself with all the peaceableness under it,
and to procure, to the utmost of my power, that all in whom I have any
interest to do the same." He retired into Hampshire, where he dwelt as
a private gentleman. His brother Henry resigned his position as Lord
Lieutenant of Ireland and settled in Cambridgeshire. From this time the
name of Cromwell was no longer a power in the land.

During two years subsequent to the death of Oliver the government
of England underwent various changes, and the kingdom suffered many
disorders; until, being heartily sick of anarchy, the people desired
a king might once more reign over them accordingly, they turned their
eyes towards the son of him whom "the boldest villany that ever any
nation saw" had sent to the block. And the time being ripe, Charles
Stuart, then an exile in Breda, despatched Sir John Grenville with royal
letters to both Houses of Parliament, likewise to the Lord Mayor of
London and members of the Common Council, to Monk, commander of the
forces, and Montagu, admiral of the fleet. These letters were received
with so universal a joy and applause, that Parliament forthwith ordained
Charles Stuart should be proclaimed "the most potent, mighty, and
undoubted King of England, Scotland and Ireland." Moreover, both Houses
agreed that an honourable body of Commissioners, all men of great
quality and birth, should be sent to the king with letters, humbly
begging his majesty would be pleased to hasten his long-desired return
into England. And because they knew full well the royal exchequer was
empty, Parliament ordered these noble gentlemen to carry with them a
present of fifty thousand pieces of gold to the king, together with ten
thousand to his brother of York, and five thousand to his brother of
Gloucester. Nor was the City of London backwards in sending expressions
of loyalty and tokens of homage and devotion; to evince which twenty
valiant men and worthy citizens were despatched with messages of
goodwill towards him, and presents in gold to the amount of twelve
thousand pounds.

And presently Admiral Montagu arriving with his fleet upon the coast of
Holland, awaited his majesty near Scheveling; and all things being in
readiness the king with his royal brothers and a most noble train set
sail for England.

It came to pass that on the 25th day of May, 1660, a vast concourse of
nobility, gentry, and citizens had assembled at Dover to meet and greet
their sovereign king, Charles II., on his landing. On the fair morning
of that day a sound of cannon thundering from the castle announced that
the fleet, consisting of "near forty sail of great men-of-war," which
conveyed his majesty to his own, was in sight; whereon an innumerable
crowd betook its joyful way to the shore. The sun was most gloriously
bright, the sky cloudless, the sea calm. Far out upon the blue horizon
white-winged ships could be clearly discerned. By three o'clock in the
afternoon they had reached the harbour, when the king, embarking in a
galley most richly adorned, was rowed to shore. Then cannon roared once
more from the castle, and were answered from the beach; bells rang from
church towers, and a mighty shout went up from the hearts of the people.

In the midst of these rejoicings Charles II. landed, and the gallant
General Monk, who had been mainly instrumental in bringing his royal
master to the throne without loss of blood, now fell upon his knees to
greet his majesty. The king raised the general from the ground, embraced
and kissed him. Then the nobility hastened to pay their duty likewise,
and the Mayor and Aldermen of Dover presented him with a most loyal
address. And presently, with the roar of cannon, the clangour of bells,
the sound of music, and the shouts of a great multitude ringing in his
ears, the king advanced on his way towards Canterbury. At the gates
of this ancient city he was met by the mayor and aldermen, and was
presented by them with a golden tankard, Here he spent the following
day, which being Sunday, he went with a great train to the cathedral,
where service according to the Church of England, long disused by the
Puritans, was restored, to the satisfaction of many.

Setting out from Canterbury on Monday, the 29th of May--which was,
moreover, the anniversary of his birth--he journeyed to Blackheath,
where he reviewed the forces drawn up with great pomp and military
splendour to greet him, and bestowed many gracious expressions on them.
Then, having received assurances of their loyal homage through their
commander, Colonel Knight, he turned towards London town. And the nearer
he approached, the more dense became crowds thronging to meet him; the
fields on either side the long white road being filled with persons of
all conditions, who cheered him lustily. As he passed they flung leaves
of trees and sweet May flowers beneath his horse's feet, and waved green
boughs on high, And when he came to St. George's Fields, there was my
lord mayor in his robes of new velvet, wearing his collar of wrought
gold, and attended by his aldermen in brave apparel likewise. Going down
on his knees my lord mayor presented the king with the city sword, which
his majesty with some happy expressions of confidence gave back into his
good keeping, having first struck him with it upon the shoulder and bade
him rise up Sir Thomas Allen. Whereon that worthy man rose to his feet
and conducted the king to a large and richly adorned pavilion, and
entertained him at a splendid collation, it being then one of the clock.
And being refreshed his majesty set forth again, and entered the city,
which had never before shown so brave and goodly an appearance as on
this May day, when all the world seemed mad with joy.

From London Bridge even to Whitehall Palace the way was lined on one
side by the train-bands of the city, and on the other by the city
companies in their rich livery gowns; to which were added a number
of gentlemen volunteers, all in white doublets, commanded by Sir John
Stanel. Across the streets hung garlands of spring flowers that made the
air most sweet, and at the corners thereof were arches of white hawthorn
in full bloom, bedecked with streamers of gay colours. From wooden
railed balconies, jutting windows, and quaint gables hung fair
tapestries, rich silks, and stuffs of brilliant hues; and from the high
red chimneys, grey turrets, and lofty spires, floated flags bearing
the royal arms of England, and banners inscribed with such mottoes as
loyalty and affection could suggest. The windows and galleries
were filled with ladies of quality in bright dresses; the roofs and
scaffolding, with citizens of all classes, who awaited with eager and
joyous faces to salute their lord and king.

And presently, far down the line of streets, a sound was heard of
innumerable voices cheering most lustily, which every minute became
nearer and louder, till at last a blare of trumpets was distinguished,
followed by martial music, and the tramp and confusion of a rushing
crowd which suddenly parted on all sides. Then there burst on view the
first sight of that brave and glorious cavalcade to the number of twenty
thousand, which ushered the king back unto his own. First came a troop
of young and comely gentlemen, three hundred in all, representing the
pride and valour of the kingdom, wearing cloth of silver doublets and
brandishing naked swords which flashed in the sunlight. Then another
company, less by a hundred in number, habited in rich velvet coats,
their footmen clad in purple liveries; and next a goodly troop under the
command of Sir John Robinson, all dressed in buff coats with cloth of
silver sleeves, and green scarves most handsome to behold. These were
followed by a brave troop in blue doublets adorned with silver lace,
carrying banners of red silk fringed with gold. Then came trumpets, and
seven footmen in sea-green and silver liveries, bearing banners of blue
silk, followed by a troop in grey and blue to the number of two hundred
and twenty, and led by the most noble the Earl of Northampton. After
various other companies, all brave in apparel, came two trumpets bearing
his majesty's arms, followed by the sheriffs' men in red cloaks and
silver lace, and by a great body of gentlemen in black velvet coats with
gold chains. Next rode six hundred brave citizens, twelve ministers, the
king's life guards, led by Sir Gilbert Gerrard, the city marshals with
eight footmen, the city waits and officers, the sheriffs and aldermen in
scarlet gowns, the maces and heralds in great splendour, the lord mayor
carrying a naked sword in his strong right hand, the Duke of Buckingham,
and General Monk, soon to be created Duke of Albermarle.

Now other heralds sound their trumpets with blasts that make all hearts
beat quicker; church bells ring far louder than before; voices are
raised to their highest pitch, excitement reaches its zenith, for here,
mounted on a stately horse caparisoned in royal purple and adorned with
gold, rides King Charles himself; on his right hand his brother of York,
on his left his brother of Gloucester. Handkerchiefs are waved, flowers
are flung before his way, words of welcome fall upon his ear, in answer
to which he bows with stately grace, smiles most pleasantly, and gives
such signs of delight as "cheared the hearts of all loyal subjects
even to extasie and transportation." Last of all came five regiments of
cavalry, with back, breast, and head piece, which "diversified the show
with delight and terrour." John Evelyn stood in the Strand and watched
the procession pass, when that worthy man thanked God the king had
been restored without bloodshed, and by the very army that had rebelled
against him. "For such a restauration was never mention'd in any history
ancient or modern, since the returne of the Jews from the Babylonish
captivity; nor so joyfull a day and so bright ever seene in this nation,
this hapning when to expect or effect it was past all human policy."

For full seven hours this "most pompous show that ever was" wound its
way through the city, until at nine of the clock in the evening it
brought his majesty to the palace of Whitehall, where the late king had
"laid down his sacred head to be struck off upon a block," almost twelve
years before. Then the lord mayor and his aldermen took their goodly
leave, and the king entered into the banquet hall, where the lords and
commons awaited him, and where an address was made to him by the Earl
of Manchester, Speaker to the House of Peers, congratulating him on his
miraculous preservation and happy restoration to his crown and dignity
after so long and so severe a suppression of his just right and title.
Likewise his lordship besought his majesty to be the upright assertor of
the laws and maintainer of the liberties of his subjects. "So," said the
noble earl, "shall judgment run down like a river, and justice like a
mighty stream, and God, the God of your mercy, who hath so miraculously
preserved you, will establish your throne in righteousness and peace."
Then the king made a just and brief reply, and retired to supper and to

The worthy citizens, however, were not satisfied that their rejoicements
should end here, and "as soon as night came," says Dr. Bate, "an
artificial day was begun again, the whole city seeming to be one great
light, as, indeed, properly it was a luminary of loyalty, the bonfires
continuing till daybreak, fed by a constant supply of wood, and
maintained with an equal excess of gladness and fewel." Wine flowed from
public fountains, volleys of shot were discharged from houses of the
nobility, drums and other musical instruments played in the streets,
citizens danced most joyfully in open places, and the effigy of Cromwell
was burned, together with the arms of the Commonwealth with expressions
of great delight.


  The story of the king's escape.--He accepts the Covenant and lands in
  Scotland.--Crowned at Scone.--Proclaimed king at Carlisle.--The
  battle of Worcester.--Bravery of Charles.--Disloyalty of the Scottish
  cavalry.--The Royalists defeated.--The King's flight.--Seeks refuge
  in Boscobel Wood.--The faithful Pendrells.--Striving to cross the
  Severn.--Hiding in an oak tree.--Sheltered by Master Lane.--Sets out
  with Mistress Lane.--Perilous escapes.--On the road.--The king is
  recognised.--Strange adventures.--His last night in England.

That King Charles had been miraculously preserved, as my Lord Manchester
set forth, there can be no doubt. His courageous efforts to regain the
Crown at the battle of Worcester and his subsequent escapes from the
vigilant pursuits of the Cromwellian soldiers, would, if set down in
justice and with detail, present a story more entertaining than any
romance ever written. Here they must of necessity be mentioned with

In the year 1645, Charles I., having suffered the loss of many great
battles, became fearful of the danger which threatened his family and
himself. He therefore ordered his son Charles, who had already retired
into the west, to seek refuge in the Scilly Isles. The prince complied
with his desires, and went from thence to Paris, where his mother,
Henrietta Maria, had already taken shelter, and, after a short stay
with her, travelled to the Hague. Soon after the king was beheaded, the
Scots, who regarded that foul act with great abhorrence, invited
Charles to come into their kingdom, provided he accepted certain hard
conditions, which left the government of all civil business in the hands
of Parliament, and the regulation of all religious matters in charge
of the Presbyterians. No other prospect of regaining his rights, and of
enabling him to fight for his throne presenting itself, he accepted
what was known as the Covenant, and landed in Scotland in 1650. He
was received with the respect due to a monarch, but placed under the
surveillance forced on a prisoner. The fanatical Presbyterians, jealous
of that potent influence which his blithe ways exercised over all with
whom he associated, neither permitted him to attend the council nor
command the army; they, however, preached to him incessantly, admonished
him of his sins and those of his parents, guarded him as a captive, and
treated him as a puppet. Meanwhile Cromwell, being made aware of his
presence in the kingdom, advanced at the head of a powerful body into
Scotland, fought and won the battle of Dunbar, stormed and captured
Leith, and took his triumphal way towards Edinburgh town. Charles was at
this time in Perth, and being impatient at his enforced inaction whilst
battles were fought in his name, and lives lost in his cause, made his
escape from the Covenanters, with the determination of arousing
the Royalists who lay in the north. But the Scots soon overtook and
recaptured him. However, this decisive action awoke them to a better
understanding of the deference due to his position, and therefore
they crowned him at Scone on the first day of the year 1651, with much
solemnity, and subsequently made him commander of the army.

After spending some months in reorganizing the troops, he boldly
declared his intention of marching into England, and fighting the rebel
force. Accordingly, on the 31st of July, 1651, he set out from Sterling
with an army of between eleven and twelve thousand men. At Carlisle
he was proclaimed king, and a declaration was published in his name,
granting free grace and pardon to all his subjects in England, of
whatever nature or cause their offences, saving Cromwell, Bradshaw and
Cooke. He then marched to Lancashire, and on the 23rd of August unfurled
the Royal standard at Worcester, amidst the enthusiastic acclamations of
his troops and the loyal demonstrations of the citizens. Weary of civil
strife, depressed with fear of Cromwell's severities, and distrustful
of the Presbyterians, who chiefly composed the young king's army, the
Royalists had not gathered to his standard in such numbers as he had
anticipated. His troops, since leaving Scotland, had been reinforced
merely by two thousand men; but Charles had hopes that fresh recruits
would join him when news of the rising got noised abroad.

The Republicans were filled with dismay at the king's determined action,
but were prompt to make a counter-move, Accordingly, additional troops
were levied, London was left to be defended by volunteers, and Cromwell,
heading an army of thirty-four thousand men, marched against the
Royalists. On the 28th of August, they drew near Worcester, and on the
3rd of September the battle was fought which will remain for ever
famous in the annals of civil war. On the morning of that day, the king,
ascending the cathedral tower, saw the enemy's forces advancing towards
Worcester: before reaching the city, it was necessary they should cross
the Severn, and, in order to prevent this if possible, Charles hurried
down and directed that some of his troops, under the command of
Montgomery, should defend Powick Bridge; whilst he stationed others
under Colonel Pitscottie lower down, at a point of the river towards
which the Republicans were marching with pontoons, by means of which
they intended to cross. The young king, hopeful of victory and full of
enthusiasm, rode speedily out at the head of his troops and placed them
at their various stations. Scarcely had he done so, when he became aware
that the main body of the enemy had opened an artillery fire on Fort
Royal, which guarded the city on the south-east side. He therefore
galloped back in hot haste to headquarters, and reconnoitred the
advanced posts eastward of the city, in full front of the enemy's fire.
Meanwhile Montgomery, having exhausted his ammunition, was obliged to
retreat in disorder from Powick Bridge, followed by the Cromwellians.
The king now courageously resolved to attack the enemy's camp at Perry
Wood, which lay south-east of Worcester. Accordingly he marched out with
the flower of his Highland infantry and the English cavaliers, led by
the Dukes of Hamilton and Buckingham. Cromwell, seeing this, hastened to
intercept the king's march, whereon a fierce battle was bravely fought
on either side. Nothing could be more valiant than the conduct of the
young king, who showed himself wholly regardless of his life in the
fierce struggle for his rights. Twice was his horse shot under him;
but increasing danger seemed but to animate him to greater daring. So
bravely did his army fight likewise, that the Republicans at first gave
way before them. For upwards of four hours the engagement raged with
great fierceness. Cromwell subsequently declared it was "as stiff a
contest as he had ever seen," and his experience was great. Success
seemed now to crown the Royalists, anon to favour the Roundheads. The
great crisis of the day at length arrived: the Cromwellians began to
waver and give way just as the Royalist cavalry had expended their
ammunition; the king had still three thousand Scotch cavalry in the rear
under the command of Leslie, who had not yet been called into action. He
therefore ordered them to advance; but, to his horror, not one of these
men, who had looked on as passive spectators, made a movement. In this
hour, when victory or defeat hung upon a thread the Scots ignominiously
failed their king. Charles instantly saw he was undone. The English
cavalry continued to fight bravely, in their desperation using the butt
ends of their muskets; but they were gradually compelled to give way
before the enemy, who, seeing their condition, had renewed the
attack. The Royalists therefore fell back into the city. When the king
re-entered Worcester he saw before him a scene of the most disastrous
confusion. Royalists and Republicans encountered and fought each other
in every thoroughfare; the air was filled with the report of muskets,
the imprecations of soldiers, the groans of wounded men, and the shrieks
of women. The streets ran red with blood. At such a sight his heart sank
within him, but, manning himself for fresh efforts, he called his troops
together and sought to incite them with courage to make a final charge.
"I would rather," he cried out, "you would shoot me than keep me alive
to see the sad consequences of this fatal day." Those who heard him were
disheartened: it was too late to retrieve their heavy losses: most of
them refused to heed him; many sought safety in flight. Then the young
king's friends, gathering round, besought him to make good his escape;
and accordingly, with a sad heart, he rode out of St. Martin's Gate
humbled and defeated. In order to cover his retreat from the enemy now
advancing, my Lord Cleveland, Sir James Hamilton, Colonel Careless, and
some other worthy gentlemen defended Sudbury Gate, towards which the
main body of the Republicans approached. They held this position a
sufficient time to gain the end for which it was undertaken. But at
length the Republicans, forcing open the gate, marched upon the fort,
defended by fifteen hundred soldiers under Colonel Drummond. This loyal
man refusing to surrender, the fort was speedily stormed; and he and
those of his men who survived the attack were mercilessly put to the

Dr. George Bate gives a quaint and striking picture of what followed.
"Deplorable and sad was the countenance of the town after that," writes
he; "the victorious soldiers on the one hand killing, breaking into
houses, plundering, sacking, roaring, and threatening; on the other
hand, the subdued flying, turning their backs to be cut and slashed, and
with outstretched hands begging quarter; some, in vain resisting, sold
their lives as dear as they could, whilst the citizens to no purpose
prayed, lamented, and bewailed. All the streets are strewed with dead
and mangled bodies. Here were to be seen some that begged relief, and
then again others weltering in their own gore, who desired that at once
an end might be put to their lives and miseries. The dead bodies lay
unburied for the space of three days or more, which was a loathsome
spectacle that increased the horror of the action."

Concerning his subsequent dangers and narrow escapes, the king, in his
days of peace and prosperity, was wont to discourse at length, for they
had left impressions on his mind which lasted through life. Edward Hyde,
Lord Clarendon, his Lord High Chancellor, Dr. George Bate, his learned
physician, and Samuel Pepys, Esquire, sometime Surveyor-General to the
Victualling Office, have preserved the records of that time of peril,
as told by his majesty. True, their various stories differ in minor
details, but they agree in principal facts. The king had not ridden
many miles from Worcester when he found himself surrounded by about four
thousand of his army, including the Scots under the command of Leslie.
Though they would not fight for him, they were ready enough to fly with
him. At first he thought of betaking himself to Scotland; but having
had sad proof of the untrustworthy character of those with whom he
travelled, he feared they would further betray him if pursued by the
enemy. He therefore resolved to reach London before the news of his
defeat arrived thither, and make his escape from thence; but this
scheme presented many difficulties. Amongst the persons of quality who
accompanied him were my Lord Duke of Buckingham, the Earls of Derby and
Lauderdale, and the Lords Wilmot and Talbot. During their journey it
fell from my Lord Derby's lips, that when he had been defeated at Wigan,
one Pendrell, an honest labourer and a Papist, had sheltered him in
Boscobel House, not far distant from where they then rode. Hearing
this, the king resolved to trust this same faithful fellow, and for
the present seek such refuge as Pendrell could afford. It was not easy,
however, for his majesty to escape the Scots; but when night came, he
and his gentlemen slipped away from the high road, which the others
continued to pursue, and made for Boscobel Wood, led by Charles Giffard,
a loyal gentleman and true. The house they sought was situated between
Tong Castle and Brewood, in a woody place most fitting for retreat;
it was, moreover, six and twenty miles from Worcester, and stood in
Shropshire, on the borders of Staffordshire.

In order to gain this haven of rest, it was necessary for them to pass
through Stourbridge, where a troop of the Republican army lay quartered.
Midnight had fallen ere they reached the town, which was now wrapt in
darkness, and was, moreover, perfectly still. The king and his friends,
dismounting, led their horses through the echoing streets as softly as
possible, being filled the while with dire apprehensions. Safely leaving
it, they rode into the wood until they came to the old convent of
Whiteladies, once the home of Cistercian nuns, who had long since been
driven from their peaceful retreat. The house was now the habitation of
the Giffard family, with whom George Pendrell lived as servant. On being
aroused, he came forth with a lantern, and admitted them, when Charles
Giffard made known to him in whose presence he stood, and acquainted him
with their situation. Thereupon the honest fellow promised to serve the
king faithfully, and sent immediately for his brothers four: William,
who took charge of Boscobel House, not far removed; Humphrey, who was
miller at Whiteladies; Richard, who lived at Hobbal Grange; and John,
who was a woodman, and dwelt hard by. When they had all arrived, Lord
Derby showed them the king's majesty, and besought them for God's sake,
for their loyalty's sake, and as they valued all that was high and
sacred, to keep him safe, and forthwith seek some place of decent
shelter where he might securely lurk. This they readily swore to
compass, though they risked their lives in the attempt.

It being considered that greater safety lay in the king being
unattended, his loyal friends departed from him with many prayers
and hopes for a joyful reunion: all of them save my Lords Wilmot and
Buckingham set out to join Leslie's company, that they might proceed
together towards Scotland; but they had not marched six miles in company
with the Scots when these three thousand men and more were overtaken and
were routed by a single troop of the enemy's horse, and my Lord Derby,
being taken, was condemned and executed. Lords Wilmot and Buckingham
set out for London, to which place it was agreed the king should follow

When his majesty's friends had departed, the Pendrells undertook to
disguise him; towards which end one of them cut the long locks reaching
his shoulders, another rubbed his hands and face with dust, and a third
brought him a suit of clothes. "The habit of the king," says Pepys, "was
a very greasy old grey steeple-crowned hat, with the brims turned up,
without lining or hatband, the sweat appearing two inches deep through
it round the band place; a green cloth jump-coat, threadbare, even to
the threads being worn white, and breeches of the same, with long knees
down to the garter; with an old sweaty leathern doublet, a pair of white
flannel stockings next to his legs, and upon them a pair of old green
yarn stockings, all worn and darned at the knees, with their feet cut
off: his shoes were old, all slashed for the ease of his feet, with
little rolls of paper between his toes to keep them from galling; and
an old coarse shirt, patched both at the neck and hands, of that very
coarse sort which go by the name of nogging shirts."

When Charles was attired in this fashion, Richard Pendrell opened a back
door and led him out into the wood; not a moment too soon, for within
half an hour Colonel Ashenhurst, with a company of Cromwell's soldiers,
rode up to Whiteladies, rushed into the house, searched every chamber
and secret place, pulled down the wainscoting, and otherwise devastated
the mansion in the search for the king. A damp cold September morning
now lengthened to a day of gloom and depression. Rain fell in heavy
torrents, dripped from the leafless branches of trees, and saturated the
thick undergrowth and shrubs where his majesty lay hidden. Owing to
the condition of the weather, the soldiers neglected to search Boscobel
Wood; and, after uttering many threats and imprecations, withdrew from
Whiteladies. When he considered himself quite alone, Richard Pendrell
ventured forth, taking with him a billhook, that if observed he might
seem engaged in trimming hedges; and drawing near the spot where his
majesty lay, assured him of his safety. Later on he besought an old
woman, his neighbour, to take victuals into the wood to a labourer she
would find there. Without hesitation the good woman carried some eggs,
bread, butter, and milk towards the spot indicated to her. On seeing
her the king was much alarmed fearing recognition and dreading her
garrulity; wherefore he said to her: "Can you be true to anyone who hath
served the king?" Upon which she readily made answer: "Yes, sir; I'd die
sooner than betray you." Being reassured at this, he ate heartily.

When night fell, Richard brought him into the house again, and the king,
now abandoning his intention of proceeding to London, expressed his
anxiety to reach Wales where he had many friends, and which afforded
him ready opportunities of escaping from the kingdom. Pendrell expressed
himself willing to conduct him thither. Accordingly, about nine of
the clock, they set out with the determination of crossing the Severn,
intending to pass over a ferry between Bridgenorth and Shrewsbury. When
they had walked some hours they drew near a water-mill. "We could see
the miller," said the king in relating the story, "as I believe, sitting
at the mill-door, he being in white clothes, it being a very dark night.
He called out sturdily, 'Who goes there?' Upon which Richard Pendrell
answered, 'Neighbours going home,' or suchlike 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, Richard
bade me follow him close, and he ran to a gate that went up a dirty lane
up a hill. The miller cried out: 'Rogues--rogues!' And thereupon some
men came out of the mill after us, which I believe 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."

This led to the house of an honest gentleman named Woolfe, living at
Madeley, who was a Catholic, and loyal to his king, and as such was
known to the Pendrells. When they drew near to his house, Richard,
leaving his majesty in a field, went forward and asked this worthy man
if he would shelter one who had taken part in the battle of Worcester;
whereon he made answer he would not venture his neck for any man unless
it were the king himself, upon which Pendrell made known to him it was
his majesty who sought refuge from him. Mr. Woolfe came out immediately
and carried the king by a back way into a barn, where he hid him for the
day, it being considered unsafe for him to stay a longer period there,
as two companies of militia were at that time stationed in the town, and
were very likely to search the house at any minute. Moreover he advised
his majesty by no means to adventure crossing the Severn, as the
strictest guard was then kept at the ferries to prevent any Royalist
fugitives from escaping into Wales. The king was therefore obliged to
retrace his steps, and now sought Boscobel House, not far distant from
his first resting-place of Whiteladies. Arriving there, he remained
secreted in the wood, whilst Richard went to see if soldiers were in
occupation of the dwelling. There was no one there, however, but Colonel
Careless, the same good man and true who had helped to keep Sudbury Gate
whilst Charles made his escape.

The Colonel had been hiding in the forest, and, being sore pressed by
hunger, had come to beg a little bread. Being informed where the king
was, he came forth with great joy, and, the house not being considered
a safe refuge, they both climbed into the branches of a leafy oak,
situated in an open part of the wood, from whence they could see all
round them. They carried with them some bread and cheese and small beer,
and stayed there that day. "While we were in the tree," says the king,
"we saw soldiers going up and down in the thicket of the wood, searching
for persons escaped, we seeing them now and then peeping out of the
wood." When this danger had passed away, the king, worn out by his sore
fatigues, laid his head on his friend's breast and slept in his arms. At
night they descended, and going to Boscobel House, were shown a secret
hiding-place, such as were then to be found in the mansions of all
Catholic families, called the priests' hole a little confined closet
built between two walls, in the principal stack of chimneys, and having
a couple of exits for the better escape of those compelled to seek its
shelter. Here the king rested in peace for a day and a night.

Meanwhile Humphrey Pendrell went into Shifnal to pay his taxes; and it
being known he had come from Whiteladies, he was questioned closely
as to whether he knew aught of Charles Stuart. On stoutly denying all
knowledge of him, he was told that any man who discovered him would gain
a thousand pounds, but he that sheltered him would suffer death without
mercy; these being the terms of a proclamation just issued. This the
honest miller on his return narrated to the king, swearing roundly he
would run all risks for his sake. It chanced at this time one of the
Pendrells heard that my Lord Wilmot who had not been able to make his
way to London, was hiding in a very secure place, at the house of a
gentleman named Whitegrave, above seven miles distant. This coming to
the king's knowledge, he became anxious to see his faithful friend
and hold communication with him. Accordingly one of the Pendrells was
despatched to request Lord Wilmot to meet his majesty that night, in a
field close by Mr. Whitegrave's house. And the time of night being come,
the king was impatient of delay; but his feet were sore from the rough
shoes he had worn on his journey, so that he was scarce able to walk;
therefore he was mounted on Humphrey's mill-horse, and, the four loyal
brothers forming a guard, they directed their way towards Moseley. The
king's eagerness to see Wilmot being great, he complained of the horse's
slow pace. "Can you blame him, my liege," said Humphrey, who loved a
jest, "that he goes heavily, having the weight of three kingdoms on his

When they had travelled with him a great part of the journey it was
thought safer three of them should withdraw themselves. They therefore
turned away; but scarcely had they gone when the king, who, being
lost in thought, had remained unconscious of their departure, suddenly
stopped, and caused John, who remained, to speedily summon them back.
When they returned he gave them his hand to kiss, and, with that charm
of manner which never failed in winning friends, said to them sadly, "My
sorrows make me forget myself. I earnestly thank you all."

They kissed his hand heartily, and prayed God to save him. In the
days of his prosperity he remembered their kindness and rewarded their

Arriving at the trysting place the king found Mr. Whitegrave, a
Benedictine monk named Father Huddlestone, Sir John Preston, and his
brother awaiting him. It may be mentioned here this monk was destined,
many years later, to play an important part in the closing scene of
his majesty's life. Mr. Whitegrave conducted Charles with great show of
respect to his house, where the king spoke with my Lord Wilmot, feasted
well, and rested safe that night. Next morning the worthy host had
private notice given that a company of soldiers were on their way to
arrest him as one who had served in the king's army. He, being innocent
of this charge, did not avoid them, but received them boldly at his
door, spoke confidently in his own defence, and referred them to the
testimony of his neighbours, whereon they departed quietly.

It was feared, however, the house was no longer safe, and that another
refuge had best be sought for his majesty. Therefore, Father Huddlestone
informed the king of an honest gentleman, the owner of a fair estate
some six miles removed, who was generous and exceedingly beloved, and
the eldest justice of peace in the county of Stafford. This gentleman
was named Lane, "a very zealous Protestant, yet he lived with so much
civility and candour towards the Catholics, that they would all trust
him as much as they would any of their own profession." The king,
however, not being willing to surprise this worthy man, immediately
despatched the Benedictine to make certain of his welcome; receiving
due assurances of which he and Lord Willmot set out by night for Master
Lane's mansion, where they were heartily received, and where Charles
rested some days in blessed security. Knowing, however, in what risk he
placed those who sheltered him, and how vigilant the pursuit after him,
he became most anxious for his safe delivery out of the kingdom. To this
end it was desirable he should draw near the west coast, and await an
opportunity of sailing from thence for France.

The members of Master Lane's family then living with him consisted of a
son and a daughter: the former a man of fearless courage and integrity,
the latter a gentlewoman of good wit and discretion, as will be seen
hereafter. Consulting, amongst themselves as to the best means of
compassing the king's escape, it was resolved Mistress Lane should visit
a kinswoman of hers with whom she had been bred, that had married
one Norton, and was now residing within five miles of Bristol. It was
likewise decided she should ride on her journey thence behind the king,
he being habited in her father's livery, and acting as her servant; and
for greater safety her sister and her sister's husband were to accompany
them on the road. Mistress Jane Lane then procured from a colonel of the
rebel army a passport for herself and her servant, her sister and her
brother-in-law, to travel without molestation to her cousin Mistress
Norton, who was ready to lie in. With this security Jane set out, her
brother bearing them company part of the way, with a hawk upon his fist
and two or three spaniels at his heels, which warranted him keeping the
king and his friends in sight without seeming to be of their company.

The first day's journey was not accomplished without an exciting
incident. The horse ridden by Mistress Lane and the king--now bearing
the name of William Jackson--lost a shoe; and being come to Bromsgrove,
he must dismount and lead the animal to the village blacksmith.

"As I was holding my horse's foot," said his majesty, when narrating the
story to Mr. Pepys, "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 the
rogues of the Scots. I asked him whether there was none of the English
taken that joined with the Scots, He answered he did not hear if that
rogue, Charles Stuart, were taken; but some of the others, he said,
were taken. 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 I spoke like an honest man; and so we parted."

At the end of the first day's journey they were met by Lord Wilmot at
the inn; and he continued to join them wherever they rested at night,
without appearing to travel with them by day. Mistress Lane took all
possible care to guard the king against recognition, stating at every
house of accommodation where they tarried he was "a neighbour's son whom
her father had lent her to ride before her in hope that he would the
sooner recover from a quartan ague with which he had been miserably
afflicted, and was not yet free." Which story served as sufficient
excuse for his going to bed betimes, and so avoiding the company of
servants. At the end of three days they arrived at their destination.
Jane Lane was warmly received by her cousin, and the whole party made
heartily welcome. Jane, however, did not entrust her secret to Mistress
Norton's keeping, but repeated her tale of the good youth being newly
recovered from ague, and desired a chamber might be provided for him,
and a good fire made that he might retire early to bed. Her desires
being obeyed, the king withdrew, and was served with an excellent good
supper by the butler, a worthy fellow named Pope, who had been a trooper
in the army of Charles I., of blessed memory.

"The next morning" said the king continuing his strange story, "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 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 he had been in
my regiment of Guards, in Major Broughton's company--that was my Major
in the battle. I asked him what kind of man I was; to which he answered
by describing exactly both my clothes and my horse, and then, looking
upon me, he told me that the king was at least three fingers taller than
I. 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 Mistress Norton
was coming by through it; upon which I, plucking off my hat and standing
with it in my hand as she passed by, 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."

When he returned, however, the butler followed him into a private room,
and going down on his stiff knees, said, with tears in his old eyes, he
was rejoiced to see his majesty in safety. The king affected to laugh
at him, and asked him what he meant; but Pope told him he knew him well,
for before he was a trooper in his father's service he had been falconer
to Sir Thomas Jermyn, groom of the bedchamber to the king when he was
a boy. Charles saw it was useless longer to deny himself, and therefore
said he believed him to be a very honest man, and besought he would not
reveal what he knew to anyone. This the old man readily promised, and
faithfully kept his word. Having spent a couple of days at Norton's, the
king, by advice of Lord Wilmot, went to the house of a true friend
and loyal man, one Colonel Windham, who lived at Trent. This town was
notable as a very hotbed of republicanism; a proof of which was afforded
his majesty on the very day of his entrance. As he rode into the
principal street, still disguised as a waiting man to Mistress Lane, he
heard a great ringing of bells, and the tumult of many voices, and saw a
vast concourse of people gathered in the churchyard close by. On asking
the cause he was informed one of Cromwell's troopers was telling the
people he had killed Charles Stuart, whose buff coat he then wore;
whereon the rebels rang the church bells, and were about to make a great
bonfire for joy.

Having brought him to Trent, Mistress Lane returned home, carrying with
her the king's friendship and gratitude, of which he gave her ample
proof when he came unto the throne. Charles stayed at Colonel Windham's
over a week, whilst that gallant man was secretly striving to hire
a ship for his majesty's safe transportation into France. Presently
succeeding in this object, the king, yet wearing his livery, and now
riding before Mistress Judith Coningsby, cousin of Colonel Windham,
started with high hopes for Lyme; but at the last moment the captain
of the vessel failed him, and he was again left in a state of painful
uncertainty and danger. Lord Wilmot was sent to ascertain the cause of
this disappointment, and for greater safety the king rode on to Burport
with his friends. Being come to the outskirts of the town, they were
alarmed at finding the streets in a state of confusion, and full of
Cromwell's soldiers, fifteen hundred of whom were about to embark for
Jersey. His majesty's coolness and presence of mind did not fail him;
he resolved to ride boldly into the town, and hire a chamber at the best
inn. The yard of the hostelry was likewise crowded with troopers; but
this did not dismay his majesty.

"I alighted," said he, "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 ostler to me to help me, and to give the
horses some oats. And as the hostler was helping me to feed the horses,
'Sure, sir,' says he, '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, or 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
ostler in an inn there, hard by one Mr. Potter's, a merchant in whose
house I had lain in the time of the 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.' 'Oh,' 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 to London, and would return about three
weeks hence, when he would be there, and I would not fail to drink a pot
with him."

The king and his friends, having dined at the inn, got word that the
master of the ship, suspecting that it was some dangerous employment he
had been hired for, absolutely refused to fulfil his contract. Therefore
they, being sad at heart and fearful, retraced their steps to Trent, and
presently his majesty went further into Sussex, and abode with a
staunch Royalist, one Colonel Gunter, who resided within four miles
of Salisbury. This excellent man at last succeeded in hiring a ship
to carry away the king, and so Charles made another journey to
Brighthelmstone, where he met the captain of the vessel and the merchant
that had hired her on behalf of Colonel Gunter, both of whom had been
kept in ignorance of their future passenger's identity. Arriving at
Brighthelmstone, they entered an inn and ordered supper, during which
the captain more than once looked hard at the king. And the meal being
ended, the captain called the merchant aside and said he was not dealt
with fairly, inasmuch as he had not been told the king was the person to
be conveyed from thence. The merchant, not being so wise as the master,
denied such was the case; but the honest fellow told him not to be
troubled. "For I think," said he, "I do God and my country good service
in preserving the king: and by the grace of God I will venture my life
and all for him, and set him safely on shore, if I can, in France."

Nor was this the last of his majesty's numerous risks, for being
presently left alone, he stood thoughtful and somewhat melancholy by
the fire, resting one hand on a chair; and the landlord, coming in and
seeing him engaged in this manner, softly advanced, suddenly kissed
the king's hand, and said, "God bless you, wherever you go." Charles
started, and would have denied himself; but the landlord cried out,
"'Fore God, your majesty may trust me; and," he added, "I have no doubt,
before I die, to be a lord, and my wife a lady."

That night, the last his majesty was to spend in England for many years,
he was sad and depressed. The scenes of bloodshed he had witnessed, the
imminent dangers he had escaped, were vividly present to his mind. The
past was fraught with horror; the future held no hope. Though a king, he
was about to become an outcast from his realm. Surmising his thoughts,
his companions sought to cheer him. Now the long-desired moment of
escape was at hand, no one thought of repose. The little vessel in which
he intended sailing lay dry upon the shore, the tide being at low water.
The king and his friends, the merchant, the captain, and the landlord,
sat in the well-lighted cosy parlour of the seaport inn, smoking,
playing cards, telling stories and drinking good ale.

With all such diversions the hours wore heavily away. Their noisy
joviality had an undercurrent of sadness; jokes failed to amuse;
laughter seemed forced; words, mirthful in leaving the lips, sounded
ominous on reaching the ear. At four o'clock the captain rose to survey
his ship, and presently returned saying the tide had risen. Thereon the
king and his friends prepared to depart. A damp, chilly November
fog hung over the sea, hiding its wide expanse without deadening its
monotonous moan. A procession of black figures leaving the inn sped
noiselessly through darkness. Arriving at the shore, those who were not
to accompany his majesty, knelt and kissed his hand. Then he, with Lord
Wilmot and the captain, climbed on board the vessel and entered the
cabin. The fog had turned to rain. Four hours later, the tide being
favourable, the ship sailed out of port, and in due time the king was
safely landed in France.


  Celebration of the Kings return.--Those who flocked to Whitehall My Lord
  Cleveland's gentlemen.--Sir Thomas Allen's supper.--Touching for King's
  evil.--That none might lose their labour.--The man with the fungus
  nose.--The memory of the regicides.--Cromwell's effigy.--Ghastly scene
  at Tyburn.--The King's clemency.--The Coronation procession.--Sights and
  scenes by the way.--His Majesty is crowned.

The return of the king and his court was a signal for universal joy
throughout the nation in general and the capital in particular. For
weeks and months subsequent to his majesty's triumphal entry, the town
did not subside from its condition of excitement and revelry to its
customary quietude and sobriety. Feasts by day were succeeded by
entertainments at night; "and under colour of drinking the king's
health," says Bishop Burnet, "there were great disorder and much riot."

It seemed as if the people could not sufficiently express their delight
at the presence of the young king amongst them, or satisfy their desire
of seeing him. When clad in rich velvets and costly lace, adorned with
many jewels and waving feathers, he walked in Hyde Park attended by an
"abundance of gallantry," or went to Whitehall Chapel, where "the organs
and singing-men in surplices" were first heard by Mr. Pepys, a vast
crowd of loyal subjects attended him on his way. Likewise, when,
preceded by heralds, he journeyed by water in his barge to open
Parliament, the river was crowded with innumerable boats, and the banks
lined with a great concourse anxious for sight of him. Nor were his
subjects satisfied by the glimpses obtained of him on such occasions;
they must needs behold their king surrounded by the insignia of royalty
in the palace of his ancestors, and flocked thither in numbers. "The
eagerness of men, women, and children to see his majesty, and kisse his
hands was so greate," says Evelyn, "that he had scarce leisure to eate
for some dayes, coming as they did from all parts of the nation: and the
king being as willing to give them that satisfaction, would have none
kept out, but gave free access to all sorts of people." Indeed his loyal
subjects were no less pleased with him than he with them; and in faith
he was sorry, he declared, in that delicate strain of irony that ran
like a bright thread throughout the whole pattern of his speech, he had
not come over before, for every man he encountered was glad to see him.

Day after day, week after week, the Palace of Whitehall presented
a scene of ceaseless bustle. Courtiers, ambassadors, politicians,
soldiers, and citizens crowded the antechambers, flocked through the
galleries, and tarried in the courtyards. Deputations from all the
shires and chief towns in the three kingdoms, bearing messages of
congratulation and loyalty, were presented to the king. First of all
came the worshipful lord mayor, aldermen and council of the city of
London, in great pomp and state; when the common-sergeant made a speech
to his majesty respecting the affection of the city towards him, and the
lord mayor, on hospitable thoughts intent, besought the honour of his
company to dinner, the which Charles promised him most readily. And the
same day the commissioners from Ireland presented themselves, headed by
Sir James Barry, who delivered himself of a fine address regarding
the love his majesty's Irish subjects bore him; as proof of which he
presented the monarch with a bill for twenty thousand pounds, that had
been duly accepted by Alderman Thomas Viner, a right wealthy man and
true. Likewise came the deputy steward and burgesses of the city of
Westminster, arrayed in the glory of new scarlet gowns; and the French,
Italian, and Dutch ministers, when Monsieur Stoope pronounced an
harangue with great eloquence. Also the vice-chancellor of the
University of Oxford, with divers doctors, bachelors of divinity,
proctors, and masters of arts of the same learned university, who,
having first met at the Temple Church, went by two and two, according to
their seniority, to Essex House, that they might wait on the most
noble the Marquis of Hertford, then chancellor. Accompanied by him, and
preceded by eight esquires and yeomen beadles, having their staves, and
three of them wearing gold chains, they presented themselves before
the king, and spoke him words of loyalty and greeting. The heads of
the colleges and halls of Cambridge, with some masters of arts, in like
manner journeyed to Whitehall, when Dr. Love delivered a learned Latin
oration, expressive of their devotion to royalty in the person of their
most illustrious monarch.

Amongst others came, one day, my Lord Cleveland at the head of a hundred
gentlemen, many of them being officers who had formerly served under
him, and other gentlemen who had ridden to meet the king when coming
unto his own; and having arrived at Whitehall, they knelt down in the
matted gallery, when his majesty "was pleased to walk along," says
MERCURIUS PUBLICUS, "and give everyone of them the honour to kiss his
hand, which favour was so highly received by them, that they could no
longer stifle their joy, but as his majesty was walking out (a thing
thought unusual at court) they brake out into a loud shouting."

Then the nobility entertained the king and his royal brothers with
much magnificence, his Excellency Lord General Monk first giving at his
residence in the Cockpit, a great supper, after which "he entertained
his majesty with several sorts of musick;" Next Earl Pembroke gave a
rare banquet; also the Duke of Buckingham, my Lord Lumley, and many
others. Nor was my lord mayor, Sir Thomas Allen, behindhand in extending
hospitality to the king, whom he invited to sup with him. This feast,
having no connection with the civic entertainments, was held at good Sir
Thomas's house. The royal brothers of York and Gloucester were likewise
bidden, together with several of the nobility and gentry of high degree.
Previous to supper being served, the lord mayor brought his majesty a
napkin dipped in rose-water, and offered it kneeling; when his majesty
had wiped his hands, he sat down at a table raised by an ascent, the
Duke of York on his right hand, and the Duke of Gloucester on his
left. They were served with three several courses, at each of which the
tablecloth was shifted, and at every dish which his majesty or the dukes
tasted, the napkins were moreover changed. At another table in the same
room sat his Excellency the Lord General, the Duke of Buckingham, the
Marquis of Ormond, the Earl of Oxford, Earl of Norwich, Earl of St.
Albans, Lords De la Ware, Sands, Berkeley, and several other of
the nobility, with knights and gentlemen of great quality. Sir John
Robinson, alderman of London, proposed his majesty's health, which was
pledged standing by all present. His majesty was the while entertained
with a variety of rare music. This supper was given on the 16th of June;
and a couple of weeks later, on the 5th of July, the king went "with as
much pompe and splendour as any earthly prince could do to the greate
Citty feast, the first they had invited him to since his returne."

But whilst entertainments were given, and diversions occupied the town,
Charles was called upon to touch for the evil, an affliction then most
prevalent throughout the kingdom. According to a time-honoured belief
which obtained until the coming of George I., when faith in the divinity
of kings was no longer possible to the most ignorant, the monarch's
touch was credited with healing this most grievous disease. Majesty in
those days was sacred, and superstition rife. Accordingly we read in
MERCURIUS PUBLICUS that, "The kingdom having for a long time, by reason
of his majesty's absence, been troubled with the evil, great numbers
flocked for cure. Saturday being appointed by his majesty to touch such
as were so troubled, a great company of poor afflicted creatures were
met together, many brought in chairs and baskets; and being appointed by
his majesty to repair to the banqueting house, the king sat in a chair
of state, where he stroked all that were brought to him, and then put
about each of their necks a white ribbon with an angel of gold on it.
In this manner his majesty stroked above six hundred; and such was his
princely patience and tenderness to the poor afflicted creatures, that
though it took up a long time, the king, being never weary of well
doing, was pleased to make inquiry whether there were any more that
had not been touched. After prayers were ended the Duke of Buckingham
brought a towel, and the Earl of Pembroke a basin and ewer, who, after
they had made their obeysance to his majesty, kneeled down till his
majesty had washed."

This was on the 23rd of June, a few days earlier than the date fixed by
Evelyn as that on which the king first began "touch for ye evil." A
week later we find he stroked as many as two hundred and fifty persons.
Friday was then appointed as the day for those suffering from this
disease to come before the king; it was moreover decided that only two
hundred persons should be presented each week and these were first to
repair to Mr. Knight, his majesty's surgeon, living at the Cross Guns,
in Russell Street, Covent Garden, over against the Rose tavern, for
tickets of admission. "That none might lose their labour." the same Mr.
Knight made it known to the public he would be at home on Wednesdays and
Thursdays, from two till six of the clock; and if any person of quality
should send for him he would wait upon them at their lodgings. The
disease must indeed have been rife: week after week those afflicted
continued to present themselves, and we read that, towards the end of
July, "notwithstanding all discouragements by the hot weather and the
multitude of sick and infirm people, his majesty abated not one of his
accustomed number, but touched full two hundred: an high conviction
of all such physicians, surgeons, and apothecaries that pretend
self-preservation when the languishing patient requires their
assistance." Indeed, there were some who placed boundless faith in the
king's power of healing by touch; amongst whom was one Avis Evans, whom
Aubrey, in his "Miscellanies," records "had a fungus nose, and said
it was revealed to him that the king's hand would cure him. And at the
first coming of King Charles II. into St. James's Park, he kissed the
king's hand, and rubbed his nose with it, which disturbed the king, but
cured him."

The universal joy which filled the nation at the restoration of his
majesty was accompanied, as might be expected, by bitter hatred towards
the leaders of Republicanism, especially towards such as had condemned
the late king to death. The chief objects of popular horror now,
however, lay in their graves; but the sanctity of death was neither
permitted to save their memories from vituperation nor their remains
from moltestation. Accordingly, through many days in June the effigy
of Cromwell, which had been crowned with a royal diadem, draped with
a purple mantle, in Somerset House, and afterwards borne with all
imaginable pomp to Westminster Abbey, was now exposed at one of the
windows at Whitehall with a rope fixed round its neck, by way of hinting
at the death which the original deserved. But this mark of execration
was not sufficient to satisfy the public mind, and seven months later,
on the 30th of January, 1661, the anniversary of the murder of Charles
I., the bodies of Oliver Cromwell, Henry Ireton, and John Bradshaw
were taken from their resting places in Westminster Abbey, and drawn on
hurdles to Tyburn, the well-known site of public executions. "All the
way the universal outcry and curses of the people went along with them,"
says MERCURIUS PUBLICUS. "When these three carcasses arrived at Tyburn,
they were pulled out of their coffins, and hanged at the several angles
of that triple tree, where they hung till the sun was set; after which
they were taken down, their heads cut off; and their loathsome trunks
thrown into a deep hole under the gallows. The heads of those three
notorious regicides, Oliver Cromwell, John Bradshaw, and Ireton are
set upon poles on the top of Westminster Hall by the common hangman.
Bradshaw placed in the middle (over that part where the monstrous high
court of justice sat), Cromwell and his son-in-law Ireton on either side
of Bradshaw."

Before this ghastly execution took place, Parliament had brought to
justice such offenders against the late king's government and life as
were in its power. According to the declaration made by the king
at Breda, a full and general pardon was extended to all rebellious
subjects, excepting such persons as should be hereafter excepted by
Parliament. By reason of this clause, some who had been most violent
in their persecution of royalty were committed to the Tower before
the arrival of his majesty, others fled from the country, but had, on
another proclamation summoning them to surrender themselves, returned
in hope of obtaining pardon. Thirty in all were tried at the Old Bailey
before the Commissioners of Oyer and Terminer and a special jury of
knights and gentlemen of quality in the county of Middlesex. Twenty-nine
of these were condemned to death. The king was singularly free from
desires of revenge; but many of his council were strangers to clemency,
and, under the guise of loyalty to the crown, sought satisfaction for
private wrongs by urging severest measures. The monarch, however, shrank
from staining the commencement of his reign with bloodshed and advocated
mercy. In a speech delivered to the House of Lords he insisted that, as
a point of honour, he was bound to make good the assurances given in his
proclamation of Breda, "which if I had not made," he continued, "I am
persuaded that neither I nor you had now been here. I pray, therefore,
let us not deceive those who brought or permitted us to come together;
and I earnestly desire you to depart from all particular animosities and
revenge or memory of past provocations." Accordingly, but ten of those
on whom sentence of death had been passed were executed, the remainder
being committed to the Tower. That they were not also hung was,
according to the mild and merciful Dr. Reeves, Dean of Westminster, "a
main cause of God's punishing the land" in the future time. For those
destined to suffer, a gibbet was erected at Charing Cross, that the
traitors might in their last moments see the spot where the late king
had been executed. Having been half hung, they were taken down, when
their heads were severed from their trunks and set up on poles at the
south-east end of Westminster Hall, whilst their bodies were quartered
and exposed upon the city gates.

Burnet tells us that "the regicides being odious beyond all expression,
the trials and executions of the first who suffered were run to by
crowds, and all the people seemed pleased with the sight;" yet by
degrees these cruel and ghastly spectacles became distasteful and
disgusting. "I saw not their executions," says Evelyn, speaking of four
of the traitors who had suffered death on the 17th of October, "but met
their quarters mangled and cutt and reeking as they were brought from
the gallows in baskets on the hurdle. Oh the miraculous providence of

Seven months later, the people were diverted by the more cheerful
pageant of the king's coronation, which was conducted with great
magnificence. "Two days," as Heath narrates, "were allotted to the
consummation of this great and most celebrated action, the wonder,
admiration and delight of all persons, both foreign and domestick."
Early on the morning of the 22nd of May, the day being Monday, the
king left Whitehall, by water, for the Tower, in order that he might,
according to ancient custom, proceed through the city to Westminster
Abbey. It was noticed that it had previously rained for a month
together, but on this and the next day "it pleased God that not one
drop fell on the king's triumph." At ten o'clock the roaring of cannon
announced the procession had left the Tower on its way to Whitehall,
where his majesty was to rest the night. The splendour of the pageant
was such as had never before been witnessed. The procession was headed
by the king's council at law, the masters of chancery and judges, who
were followed by the lords according to their rank, so numerous in all,
that those who rode first reached Fleet Street, whilst the king was yet
in the Tower.

No expense was spared by those who formed part of that wonderful
cavalcade, towards rendering their appearance magnificent. Heath tells
us it was incredible to think "what costly cloathes were worn that day.
The cloaks could hardly be seen what silk or satin they were made of,
for the gold and silver laces and embroidery that was laid upon them;
the like also was seen on their foot-cloathes. Besides the inestimable
value and treasures of diamonds, pearls, and other jewels worn upon
their backs and in their hats, not to mention the sumptuous and rich
liveries of their pages and footmen, some suits of liveries amounting
to fifteen hundred pounds." Nor had the city hesitated in lavishing vast
sums towards decorating the streets through which the king was to pass.
Four triumphal arches were erected, that were left standing for a year
in memory of this joyful day. These were "composed" by John Ogilby,
Esquire; and were respectively erected in Leadenhall Street, the
Exchange on Cornhill, Wood Street, and Fleet Street.

The thoroughfares were newly gravelled, railed all the way on both
sides, and lined with the city companies and trained bands. The
"relation of his majesty's entertainment passing through the City of
London," as narrated by John Ogilby, and by the papers of the day, is
extremely quaint and interesting, but too long for detailed description.
During the monarch's progress through "Crouched Friers," he was diverted
with music discoursed by a band of eight waits, placed upon a stage. At
Aldgate, and at several other stages of his journey, he was received in
like manner. Arriving at the great arch in Leadenhall Street, his ears
were greeted by sounds of trumpets and drums playing marches; when they
had finishes, a short scene was enacted on a balcony of the arch, by
figures representing Monarchy, Rebellion, and Loyalty. Then the great
procession wended its way to the East India House, situate in the same
street, when the East India Company took occasion to express their
dutiful affections, in a manner "wholly designed by person of quality."
As the king advanced, a youth in an Indian habit, attended by two
blackamoors, knelt down before his majesty's horse, and delivered
himself of some execrable verse, which he had no sooner ended than
another youth in an Indian vest, mounted on a camel, was led forwards
and delivered some lines praying his majesty's subjects might never see
the sun set on his crown or dignity. The camel, it my be noticed, bore
panniers filled with pearls, spices, and silks, destined to be scattered
among the spectators. At Cornhill was a conduit, surmounted by eight
wenches representing nymphs--a sight which must have rejoiced the king's
heart; and on the tower of this same fountain sounded "a noise of seven
trumpets." Another fountain flowed with wine and water; and on his way
the king heard several speeches delivered by various symbolic figures.
One of these, who made a particularly fine harangue, represented the
River Thames, as a gentleman whose "garment loose and flowing, coloured
blue and white, waved like water, flags and ozier-like long hair falling
o'er his shoulders; his beard long, sea-green, and white." And so by
slow degrees the king came to Temple Bar, where he was entertained by
"a view of a delightful boscage, full of several beasts, both tame and
savage, as also several living figures and music of eight waits." And
having passed through Temple Bar into his ancient and native city of
Westminster, the head bailiff in a scarlet robe and the high constable,
likewise in scarlet, on behalf of the dean, chapter, city, and liberty,
received his majesty with great expressions of joy.

Never had there been so goodly a show so grand a procession; the
citizens, still delighted with their young king, had certainly excelled
in doing him honour, and some foreigners, Heaton says, "acknowledged
themselves never to have seen among all the great magnificences of the
world any to come near or equal this: even the vaunting French confessed
their pomps of the late marriage with the Infanta of Spain, at their
majesties' entrance into Paris, to be inferior in its state, gallantry,
and riches unto this most illustrious cavalcade." Amongst those who
witnessed the procession was Mr. Pepys, who has left us a realistic
description, without which this picture would be incomplete. He tells us
he arose early on this day; and the vain fellow says he made himself as
fine as could be, putting on his velvet coat for the first time, though
he had it made half a year before. "And being ready," he continues, "Sir
W. Batten, my lady, and his two daughters, and his son and wife, and
Sir W. Pen and his son and I, went to Mr. Young's, the flag-maker, in
Corne-hill; and there we had a good room to ourselves, with wine and
good cake, and saw the show very well. In which it is impossible to
relate the glory of this day, expressed in the clothes of them that rid,
and their horses and horses' clothes; among others, my Lord Sandwich's
embroidery and diamonds were ordinary among them. The Knights of the
Bath was a brave sight of itself. Remarquable were the two men that
represent the two Dukes of Normandy and Aquitane. My Lord Monk rode bare
after the king, and led in his hand a spare horse, as being Master of
the Horse. The king, in a most rich embroidered suit and cloak, looked
most noble. Wadlow, the vintner, at the Devil, in Fleet Street, did
lead a fine company of soldiers, all young comely men in white doublets.
There followed the Vice-Chamberlain, Sir G. Carteret, and a company of
men all like Turkes. The streets all gravelled, and the houses hung with
carpets before them, made brave show; and the ladies out of the windows,
one of which over against us, I took much notice of, and spoke of her,
which made good sport among us. So glorious was the show with gold and
silver, that we were not able to look at it, our eyes at last being so
much overcome with it. Both the king and the Duke of York took notice
of us as they saw us at the window. The show being ended, Mr. Young
did give us a dinner, at which we were very merry and pleased above
imagination at what we have seen."

The next day, being the feast of St. George, patron of England, the king
went in procession from Whitehall to Westminster Abbey, where he was
solemnly crowned in the presence of a vast number of peers and bishops.
After which, surrounded by the same brilliant company, he passed from
the Abbey to Westminster Hall, the way being covered with blue cloth,
and lined with spectators to the number of ten thousand. Here his
majesty and the lords, spiritual and temporal, dined sumptuously, whilst
many fine ceremonies were observed, music of all sorts was played, and
a great crowd of pretty ladies looked down from the galleries. And when
the banquet was over, and a general pardon had been read by the lord
chancellor, and the champion had drank out of the king's gold cup,
Charles betook himself to Whitehall. Then, after two days of fair
weather, it suddenly "fell a-raining, and thundering and lightning,"
says Pepys, "as I have not seen it do for some years; which people did
take great notice of."


  The King's character.--His proverbial grace.--He tells a story well.--"A
  warmth and sweetness of the blood."--Beautiful Barbara Palmer.--Her
  intrigue with my Lord Chesterfield.--James, Duke of York.--His
  early days.--Escape from St. James's.--Fights in the service of
  France.--Marriage with Anne Hyde.--Sensation at Court.--The Duke of
  Gloucester's death.--The Princess of Orange.--Schemes against the
  Duke of York's peace.--The "lewd informer."--Anne Hyde is acknowledged
  Duchess of York.

Whilst the kingdom was absorbed by movements consequent on its change of
government, the court was no less engrossed by incidents relative to the
career it had begun. In the annals of court life there are no pages more
interesting than those dealing with Charles II, and his friends; in the
history of kings there is no more remarkable figure than that of the
merry monarch himself.

Returning to rule over a nation which, during his absence, had been
distracted by civil strife, King Charles, young in years, brave in
deeds, and surrounded by that halo of romance which misfortune lends its
victims, entirely gained the hearts of his subjects. Nature had endowed
him with gifts adapted to display qualities that fascinated, and
fitted to hide blemishes which repelled. On the one hand his expressive
features and shapely figure went far towards creating a charm which
his personal grace and courtesy of manner completed; on the other, his
delicate tact screened the heartlessness of his sensualism, whilst his
surface sympathies hid the barrenness of his cynicism.

With the coolness and courage he had shown in danger, the shrewdness
and wit he continually evinced, and the varied capacities he certainly
possessed, Charles II. might have made his reign illustrious, had not
his love of ease and detestation of business rendered him indifferent
to all things so long as he was free to follow his desires. But these
faults, which became grievous in the eyes of his subjects, commended him
to the hearts of his courtiers, the common purpose of whose lives was
pursuit of pleasure. Never was sovereign more gracious to those who came
in contact with him, or less ceremonious with his friends; whilst abroad
he had lived with his little band of courtiers more as a companion
than a king. The bond of exile had drawn them close together; an equal
fortune had gone far towards obliterating distinctions of royalty; and
custom had so fitted the monarch and his friends to familiarity, that on
his return to England neither he nor they laid aside a mutual freedom of
treatment which by degrees extended itself throughout the court. For all
that, "he was master," as Welwood says, "of something in his person and
aspect that commanded both love and admiration at once."

Among his many gifts was that of telling a story well--a rare one 'tis
true in all ages. Never was he better pleased than when, surrounded by
a group of gossips, he narrated some anecdote of which he was the hero;
and, though his tales were more than twice told, they were far from
tedious; inasmuch as, being set forth with brighter flashes of wit
and keener touches of irony, they were ever pleasant to hear. His
conversation was of a like complexion to his tales, pointed, shrewd, and
humorous; frequently--as became the manner of the times--straying far
afield of propriety, and taking liberties of expression of which nice
judgments could not approve. But indeed his majesty's speech was not
more free than his conduct was licentious. He could not think, he
gravely told Bishop Burnet, "God would make a man miserable for taking
a little pleasure out of the way." Accordingly he followed the free bent
of his desires, and his whole life was soon devoted to voluptuousness;
a vice which an ingenious courtier obligingly describes as a "warmth and
sweetness of the blood that would not be confined in the communicating
itself--an overflowing of good nature, of which he had such a stream
that it would not be restrained within the banks of a crabbed and
unsociable virtue."

The ease and freedom of his continental life had no doubt fostered this
lamentable depravity; for his misfortunes as an exiled king by no
means prevented him following his inclinations as an ardent lover.
Accordingly, his intrigues at that time were numerous, as may be judged
from the fact of Lady Byron being described as "his seventeenth mistress
abroad." The offspring of one of his continental mistresses was destined
to plunge the English nation into civil warfare, and to suffer a
traitor's death on Tower Hill in the succeeding reign.

"The profligacy which Charles practised abroad not being discontinued
at home, he resumed in England an intrigue commenced at Brussels a short
time before the restoration. The object of this amour was the beautiful
Barbara Palmer, afterwards, by reason of her lack of virtue, raised to
the peerage under the titles of Countess of Castlemaine, and Duchess of
Cleveland. This lady, who became a most prominent figure in the court of
the merry monarch, was daughter of William, second Viscount Grandison,
a brave gentleman and a loyal, who had early in life fallen in the civil
war whilst fighting for his king. He is described as having, among other
gifts, "a faultless person," a boon, which descended to his only child,
the bewitching Barbara. In the earliest dawn of her womanhood she
encountered her first lover in the person of Philip Stanhope, second
Earl of Chesterfield. My lord was at this time a youthful widower, and
is described as having "a very agreeable face, a fine head of hair, an
indifferent shape, and a pleasant wit. He was, moreover, an elegant beau
and a dissolute man--testimony of which latter fact may be gathered from
a letter written to him in 1658, by his sister-in-law, Lady Essex, to
prevent the "ruin of his soule." Writes her ladyship: "You treate
all the mad drinking lords, you sweare, you game, and commit all the
extravagances that are insident to untamed youths, to such a degree that
you make yourselfe the talke of all places, and the wonder of those who
thought otherwise of you, and of all sober people."

When Barbara was sixteen, my lord, then in his twenty-third year,
inherited the title and estates of his grandfather: he therefore became
master of his own fortune and could bestow his hand where he pleased.
That he was in love with Barbara is, indeed, most true; but that his
passion was dishonourable is likewise certain: for though he wrote her
letters full of tenderness, and kept assignations with her at Butler's
shop, on Ludgate Hill, he was the while negotiating a marriage with one
Mrs. Fairfax, to whom he was not, however, united. His intrigue with
Barbara continued for upwards of three years, when it was temporarily
suspended by her marriage to one Roger Palmer, a student of the Inner
Temple, the son of a Middlesex knight, and, moreover, a man of the most
obliging temper, as will hereafter be seen. Barbara's loyalty to her
husband was but of short duration. Before she had been nine months a
wife, we find her writing to her old lover she is "ready and willing
to goe all over the world" with him--a sacrifice he declined to accept!
though eager to take advantage of the affection which prompted it. A
little while later he was obliged to quit England; for it happened
in the first month of the year 1660 he quarrelled with and killed one
Francis Woolley, a student at law, to avoid the consequences of which
act he speedily fled the country.

Arriving at Calais, he wrote to King Charles, who was then preparing to
return, throwing himself on his mercy, and beseeching his pardon; which
the king granting, Lord Chesterfield sought his majesty at Brussels.
Soon afterwards Barbara Palmer and her complaisant husband, a right
loyal man, joined the king's court abroad, when the intrigue begun which
was continued on the night of the monarch's arrival in London. True the
loyal PARLIAMENTARY INTELLIGENCER stated "his majesty was diverted from
his pious intention of going to Westminster to offer up his devotions
of prayer and praise in publick according to the appointment of his
Majesty, and made his oblations unto God in the presence-chamber;" but
it is, alas, equally certain, according to Oldmixon, Lord Dartmouth, and
other reliable authorities, he spent the first night of his return
in the company of Barbara Palmer. From that time this abandoned woman
exercised an influence over the king which wholly disgraced his court,
and almost ruined his kingdom.

Another prominent figure, whose history is inseparable from the king's,
was that of his majesty's brother, James, Duke of York--a man of greater
ambition and lesser talents than the merry monarch, but one whose
amorous disposition equalled the monarch's withal. At an early period
of his life the Duke of York was witness of the strife which divided his
unhappy father's kingdom. When only eight years old he was sent for by
Charles I. to York, but was forbidden by the Parliament to leave St.
James's Palace. Despite its commands he was, however, carried to
the king by the gallant Marquis of Hereford. That same year the boy
witnessed the refusal of Sir John Hotham, Governor of Hull, to admit
his majesty within the gates; and James was subsequently present at the
siege of Bristol, and the famous battle of Edgehill, when his life at
one period of the engagement was in imminent peril.

Until 1646 he continued under the guardianship of his father, when, on
the entrance of Fairfax into Oxford, the young duke was found among
the prisoners, and by Cromwell's orders committed to the charge of
Sir George Ratcliffe. A few months later he was removed to St. James's
Palace, when in company with his brother, the Duke of Gloucester, and
his sister, the Princess Elizabeth, he was placed under the care of Lord
Northumberland, who had joined the Republican cause.

Though by no means treated with unkindness, the young duke, unhappy at
the surveillance placed upon his actions and fearful of the troubles
quickly gathering over the kingdom, twice sought escape. This was a
serious offence in the eyes of Cromwell's Parliament; a committee was
accordingly sent to examine him, and he was threatened with imprisonment
in the Tower. Though only in his fourteenth year he already possessed
both determination and courage, by reason of which he resolved to risk
all danger, and make a third effort for freedom. Accordingly he laid his
plans with much ingenuity, selecting two men from those around him to
aid his undertaking. These were George Howard and Colonel Bamfield. The
latter had once served in the king's army, but when the fortunes of war
had gone against his royal master, had professed himself friendly to the
Republicans. No doubt the young duke saw the gallant colonel was still
true at heart to the Royalist cause, and therefore trusted him at this
critical juncture.

Now for a fortnight previous to the night on which he designed to
escape, James made it his habit to play at hide-and-seek every evening
after supper with his brother and sister, and the children of the
officers then located in the palace; and in such secure places did he
secrete himself that his companions frequently searched for over half an
hour without discovering him. This of course accustomed the household to
miss him, and was cunningly practised for the purpose of gaining time on
his pursuers when he came to be sought for in good earnest.

At last the eventful night fixed for his escape arrived; and after
supper a pleasant group of merry children prepared to divert themselves
in the long dark halls and narrow winding passages of the grim old
palace. James, as usual, proposed concealing himself, and leaving his
companions for the purpose, disappeared behind some arras; but, instead
of hiding, he hastened to his sister's chamber, where he locked up a
favourite dog that was in the habit of following his footsteps wherever
he went, and then noiselessly slipped down a back stairs which led to
an inner garden. Having taken care to provide himself with a key fitting
the garden door, he quickly slipped into the park. Here he found Colonel
Bamfield waiting, who, giving him a cloak and a wig for his better
disguise, hurried him into a hackney coach, which drove them as far
as Salisbury House in the Strand. From thence they went through Spring
Garden, and down Ivy Lane, when, taking boat, they landed close by
London Bridge. Here entering the house of a surgeon friendly to
their adventure, they found a woman named Murray awaiting them, who
immediately provided a suit of woman's wearing apparel for the young
duke, in which she helped to attire him. Dressed in this costume he,
attended by the faithful Bamfield, hastened to Lion Quay, where they
entered a barge hired for their conveyance to a Dutch frigate stationed
beyond Gravesend.

Meanwhile, the children not being able to discover their playfellow in
the palace, their elders became suspicious of the duke's escape, and
began to aid the search. Before an hour elapsed they were convinced
he had fled, and St. James's was thrown into a state of the utmost
excitement and confusion. Notice of his flight was at once despatched to
General Fairfax at Whitehall, who immediately gave orders have all the
roads from London guarded, especially those leading to the north; for it
was surmised he would in the first instance seek to escape into Wales.
The duke, however, had taken a safer course, but one which was not
unattended by danger. He had not sailed far in the barge when its master
became suspicious that he was aiding the escape of some persons of
consequence, and became frightened lest he should get into trouble by
rendering them his services. And presently his surmise was converted
into certainty; for looking through a cranny of the barge-room door, he
saw the young woman fling her leg on the table and pull up her stocking
in a most unmaidenly manner. He therefore at once peremptorily declared
to Colonel Bamfield they must land at Gravesend, and procure another
boat to carry them to the ship; for it would be impossible for the
barge to pass the block-house lower down without being observed, and
consequently inspected, as was the custom at this troubled time. On
hearing which Colonel Bamfield was filled with dismay; but, knowing
that at heart the people were loyal towards the Stuarts, he confided
the identity of his passenger, and begged him not to betray them in this
hour of peril. To give his appeal further weight, he promised the fellow
a considerable sum if they safely reached the frigate; for human nature
is weak, and greed of gold is strong. On this, the bargee, who was a
loyal man, promised he would help them to the best of his powers; the
lights were therefore extinguished, the oars drawn in, and, the tide
fortunately answering, the barge glided noiselessly down under cover of
night, and passed the block-house unobserved. In good time they reached
the frigate, which, the duke and Colonel Bamfield boarding, at once set
sail, and in a few days landed them at Middleburgh. James proceeded to
the court of his sister, the Princess of Orange, and later on joined his
mother in France.

At the age of twenty he served in the French army, under Turenne,
against the Spanish forces in Flanders, and subsequently in several
campaigns, where he invariably showed himself so brave and valiant that
the Prince de Conde declared that if ever there was a man without fear,
it was James, Duke of York. Now it happened that in 1658 the Princess of
Orange went to Paris in order to visit the queen mother, as the widow of
Charles I. was called. The Duke of York was in the gay capital at this
time, and it soon became noticed that he fixed his attention overmuch on
one of his sister's maids of honour, Anne Hyde. This gentlewoman, then
in her twenty-first year, was the possessor of a comely countenance,
excellent shape, and much wit. Anne was daughter of Edward Hyde, a
worthy man, who had been bred to the law, and proved himself so faithful
a servant to Charles I., that his majesty had made him Privy Councillor
and Chancellor of the Exchequer. After the king's execution, in 1649,
the chancellor thought it wise for himself and his family to seek refuge
in exile, and accordingly joined Charles II., with whom he lived in the
closest friendship, and for whose return he subsequently negotiated with
General Monk.

Now James, after his fashion, made love to Mistress Hyde, who encouraged
his advances until they reached a certain stage, beyond which the
judicious maiden forbade them to proceed unless blessed by the sanction
of holy church. The Duke, impatient to secure his happiness, was
therefore secretly united to Mistress Hyde in the bonds of matrimony
on the 24th of November, in the year of grace 1659, at Breda, to which
place the Princess of Orange had returned. In a little while, the
restoration being effected, the duke returned to England with the
king, leaving his bride behind. And Chancellor Hyde being presently
re-established in his offices, and settled in his residence at Worcester
House in the Strand, sent for his wife and children; the more speedily
as he had received an overture from a noble family, on behalf of "a
hopeful, well-bred young gentleman," who expressed himself anxious to
wed with Mistress Anne.

The same young lady had not long returned, when she informed her husband
she was about to become a mother; whereon the duke, seeking the king,
fell upon his knees before him, laid bare his secret, and besought him
to sanction his union, "that he might publicly marry in such a manner as
his majesty thought necessary for the consequence thereof;" adding that,
if consent were refused, he would "immediately take leave of the kingdom
and spend his life in foreign parts." King Charles was astonished and
perplexed by this confession. James was heir, and as such it behoved him
to wed with one suited, by reason of her lineage, to support the dignity
of the crown, and calculated by her relation towards foreign powers
to strengthen the influence of the throne. The duke was fully aware
of this, and, moreover, knew he could without much difficulty have
his marriage annulled; but that he did not adopt this course was an
honourable trait in his character; and, indeed, his conduct and that of
the king was most creditable throughout the transactions which
followed; an account of which is set forth with great minuteness in the
"Continuation of Edward Hyde, Lord Clarendon's Life."

Without the advice of his council, the king could give no satisfactory
reply to his brother. He therefore summoned two of his trusty friends,
the Marquis of Ormond and the Earl of Southampton, whom he informed
of the duke's marriage, requesting them to communicate the same to the
chancellor, and return with him for private consultation. The good man's
surprise at this news concerning his daughter was, according to his own
account, exceeding great, and was only equalled by his vast indignation.
His loyalty towards the royal family was so fervent that it overlooked
his affection to his child. He therefore fell into a violent passion,
protested against her wicked presumption, and advised that the king
"should immediately cause the woman to be sent to the Tower, and to be
cast into a dungeon, under so strict a guard that no person should be
admitted to come to her; and then that an act of parliament should be
immediately passed for the cutting off her head, to which he would not
only give his consent, but would very willingly be the first man that
should propose it." All this he presently repeated to the king, and
moreover, assured him an example of the highest severity, in a case so
nearly concerning himself, would serve as a warning that others might
take heed of offences committed against his regal dignity.

News of this marriage spread throughout the court with rapidity, and
caused the utmost excitement; which in a little while was somewhat
abated by the announcement that the king's youngest brother, Henry, Duke
of Gloucester, was taken ill of small-pox. This young prince, who is
described as "a pretty boy," possessed parts which bade fair to
surpass his brothers. He was indeed associated by his family with their
tenderest memories, inasmuch as he had been with his father on the sad
day previous to his execution. On that melancholy occasion, Charles I.
had taken him upon his knee, and said to him very tenderly, "Sweetheart,
they will cut off thy father's head," at which the boy shuddered and
turned pale. "Mark, child, what I say," continued the unhappy king,
"they will cut off my head, and, perhaps, make thee a king; but mark
what I say, you must not be made king as long as your brothers Charles
and James are alive, for they will cut off thy brothers' heads when they
catch them, and cut off thy head at last; and therefore I charge you not
to be made a king by them." To which the lad replied very earnestly, "I
will be torn in pieces first." Sometime after the death of his father he
was allowed to join his family in France, and, like his brother James,
entered the army of that country. On the restoration, he had
returned with the king, and, three months later, this "prince of
very extraordinary hopes" died, grievously lamented by the court, and
especially by his majesty, who declared he felt this loss more than any
other which had previously fallen upon him.

Scarcely had he been laid to rest in the vault containing the dust
of Mary Queen of Scots and Lady Arabella Stuart, when the Princess of
Orange arrived in England to pay the king a visit of ceremony. No sooner
was she settled at court, than rumour of her brother's marriage reached
her; on which she became outrageous; but her wrath was far exceeded by
that of the queen mother, who, on hearing the news, wrote to the duke
expressing her indignation "that he should have such low thoughts as to
marry such a woman." The epistle containing this sentence was at once
shown by James to his wife, whom he continually saw and spent much time
with, unknown to her father, who had given orders she should keep her
chamber. Parliament now sat, but no mention was made of the duke's
marriage by either House; and, inasmuch as the union so nearly concerned
the nation, this silence caused considerable surprise. It was surmised
the delay was made in deference to the feelings of the queen mother, who
at this juncture set out for England, to prevent what she was pleased
to term "so great a stain and dishonour to the crown." The king regarded
his brother's alliance in a lenient spirit, and not only spoke of it
frequently before the court, but expressed his desire of bringing the
indiscretion to a happy conclusion by a public acknowledgment.

The queen mother, being an ambitious woman, had cherished certain
schemes for extending the power of her family by the respective
marriages of her sons, which the duke's union was, of course, calculated
to curtail. She therefore regarded his wife with the bitterest disdain.
Whenever that woman should be brought into Whitehall by one door, her
majesty declared she would leave it by another and never enter it
again. The marriage was rendered all the more disagreeable to the
queen, because the object of her son's choice was daughter of the lord
chancellor, whose influence over Charles II. had frequently opposed her
plans in the past, and threatened to prevent their realization in the
future. The monarch, however, paid little attention to his mother's
indignation. He was resolved no disgrace which he could hinder should
fall upon the family of one who had served him with disinterested
loyalty; and, by way of proving his friendship towards the chancellor on
the present occasion, he, before setting out to meet his mother on her
arrival at Dover, presented him with twenty thousand pounds, and left
a signed warrant for creating him a baron, which he desired the
attorney-general to have ready to pass the seals at his return.

In the meantime a wicked plot, for the purpose of lessening James's
affection for his wife, and ultimately preventing the acknowledgment of
his marriage, was promoted by the chancellor's enemies and the duke's
friends, principal amongst whom were the Princess of Orange and Sir
Charles Berkley, "a fellow of great wickedness," Sir Charles was his
royal highness's most trusted friend, and was, moreover, devoted to
the service of the princess and her mother. He therefore determined to
hinder the duke from taking a step which he was of opinion would
injure him irretrievably. Accordingly, when James spoke in confidence
concerning his marriage, Sir Charles told him it was wholly invalid,
inasmuch as it had taken place without the king's consent; and that a
union with the daughter of an insignificant lawyer was not to be thought
of by the heir to the crown. Moreover, he hinted he could a tale unfold
regarding her behaviour. At this the duke became impatient to hear what
his good friend had to say; whereon that valiant gentleman boasted, with
an air of bravery and truth, of certain gallantries which had passed
between him and the lady. On hearing this, James, being credulous was
sorely depressed. He ceased to visit his wife, withdrew from general
company; and so well did Sir Charles's scheme succeed, that before the
queen's arrival, the duke had decided on denying his marriage with one
who had brought him dishonour. The king, however, put no faith in these
aspersions; he felt sure "there was a wicked conspiracy set on foot by

It therefore happened the queen was spared the trouble she had
anticipated with her son; indeed, he humbly begged her pardon for
"having placed his affections so unequally, of which he was sure there
was now an end"--a confession most gratifying to her majesty. The duke's
bitter depression continued, and was soon increased by the death of his
sister, the Princess of Orange, which was occasioned by smallpox on the
23rd of December, 1660. In her last agonies Lord Clarendon says "she
expressed a dislike of the proceedings in that affair, to which she had
contributed too much." This fact, together with his royal highness's
unhappiness, had due weight on Sir Charles Berkley, who began to repent
of the calumnies he had spoken. Accordingly, the "lewd informer" went
to the duke, and sought to repair the evil he had wrought. Believing, he
said, such a marriage would be the absolute ruin of his royal highness,
he had made the accusation which he now confessed to be false, and
without the least ground; for he was very confident of the lady's honour
and virtue. He then begged pardon on his knees for a fault committed
out of pure devotion, and trusted the duke would "not suffer him to be
ruined by the power of those whom he had so unworthily provoked, and
of which he had so much shame that he had not confidence to look upon

James was so much relieved by what he heard that he not only forgave
Sir Charles, but embraced him, and promised him protection. Nor did his
royal highness longer withhold the reparation due to his wife, who, with
the approval of the king and the reluctant consent of the queen, was
received at court as Duchess of York. Such was the romance connected
with the marriage of her who became mother of two English queens--Mary,
wife of William of Orange, and Anne, of pious memory.


  Morality of the Restoration.--Puritan piety.--Conduct of women under
  the Republic.--Some notable courtiers.--The Duke of Ormond and his
  family.--Lord St. Albans and Henry Jermyn.--His Grace of Buckingham
  and Mistress Fairfax.--Lord Rochester.--Beautiful Barbara Palmer.--The
  King's Projected marriage.--Catherine of Braganza.--His Majesty's
  speech.--A Royal love-letter.--The new Queen sets sail.

A general idea obtains that the libertine example set forth by Charles
II. and his courtiers is wholly to blame for the spirit of depravity
which marked his reign. That it was in part answerable for the spread
of immorality is true, inasmuch as the royalists, considering sufficient
aversion could not be shown to the loathsome hypocrisy of the puritans,
therefore fell into an opposite extreme of ostentatious profligacy.
But that the court was entirely responsible for the vice tainting all
classes of society whilst the merry monarch occupied the throne, is

Other causes had long been tending to produce this unhappy effect.
The reign of the Commonwealth had not been, remarkable for its virtue,
though it had been notable for its pharisaism. With the puritan, words
of piety took place of deeds of grace; the basest passions were often
hidden under sanctimonious exteriors. Even Cromwell, "a man of long and
dark discourses, sermons, and prayers," was not above reproach. Bishop
Burnet, who has no harsh words for him, and few gentle ones for Charles,
states the Protector's intrigue with Lady Dysart was "not a little taken
notice of;" on which, the godly man "broke it off." He therefore, Heath
records, began an amour with a lady of lesser note--Mrs. Lambert, the
wife of a puritan, herself a lady devoted to psalm singing and audible
prayer when, not otherwise pleasantly engaged.

The general character of many news-sheets of the day proves that
morality under the Republic was at a low ebb. Anarchy in a kingdom
invariably favours dissoluteness in a people, inasmuch as the
disturbance of civil order tends to unsettle moral law. Homes being
divided amongst themselves by political strife, paternal care was
suspended, and filial respect ignored. In the general confusion which
obtained, the distinction of social codes was overlooked. Lord Clarendon
states that; during this unhappy period, young people of either sex
were "educated in all the liberty of vice, without reprehension
or restraint." He adds, "The young women conversed without any
circumspection or modesty, and frequently met at taverns and common
eating-houses." An additional description of the ways and manners of
young maidens under the Republic is given in a rare and curious pamphlet
entitled "A Character of England as it was lately presented in a Letter
to a Nobleman of France"; printed in the year 1659, for Jo. Crooke,
and sold at the Ship in St. Paul's Yard. Having spoken of taverns where
"fury and intemperance" reign, and where, "that nothing may be wanting
to the height of luxury and impiety, organs have been translated out of
the churches for the purpose of chanting their dithyrambics and bestiall
bacchanalias to the tune of those instruments which were wont to assist
them in the celebration of God's praises," the writer continues: "Your
lordship will scarce believe me that the ladies of greatest quality
suffer themselves to be treated in one of those taverns, where a
curtezan in other cities would scarcely vouchsafe to be entertained;
but you will be more astonish't when I shall assure you that they drink
their crowned cups roundly, strain healths through their smocks, daunce
after the fiddle, kiss freely, and tearm it an honourable treat." He
furthermore says they were to be found until midnight in company with
their lovers at Spring Garden, which seemed to be "contrived to all the
advantages of gallantry." From which evidences it may be gathered, that
London under the Commonwealth was little less vicious than under the
merry monarch.

The court Charles speedily gathered round him on his restoration was
the most brilliant the nation had ever witnessed. Those of birth and
distinction who had sought refuge abroad during the late troubles, now
joyfully returned: whilst the juvenile branches of noble families living
in retirement in England, to whom royalty had been a stranger, no less
eagerly flocked to the presence of the gay young king. The wit and
politeness of the men, the grace and beauty of the women, who surrounded
Charles II. have become proverbial; whilst the gallantries of the one,
and the frailties of the other, savour more of romance than reality.

That the condition of the court on its establishment may be realized, it
is necessary, at this stage of its history, to introduce briefly some of
the chief personages who surrounded his majesty, and occupied prominent
attention in the annals of his reign. Notably amongst them were the
gallant Duke of Ormond and his family. His grace, now in his fiftieth
year, was distinguished for his commanding appearance, gracious manner,
and excellent wit. During the troubles of the civil war, he had proved
himself a most loyal subject, inasmuch as he had vested his fortune and
ventured his person in service of the late king. Subsequently refusing
liberal offers made him by Cromwell, on condition of living in peaceful
retirement, he, after the execution of Charles I., betook himself to
France, and shared exile with the young king until the restoration. In
consequence of his proven fealty, honours were then deservingly showered
upon him: he was made grand steward of the household, first lord of the
bedchamber, and subsequently lord lieutenant of Ireland. The duchess,
who had participated in her husband's misfortunes with a courage equal
to his own, was a high-minded and most virtuous lady, who had brought
up her family with great care. Scarcely less distinguished in mien and
manner than the duke, were his two sons, Thomas, Earl of Ossory, and
Lord Richard Butler, afterwards Earl of Arran. My lord of Ossory was no
less remarkable for his beauty than famous for his accomplishments:
he rode and played tennis to perfection, performed upon the lute to
entrancement, and danced to the admiration of the court; he was moreover
a good historian, and well versed in chronicles of romance. No less was
the Earl of Arran proficient in qualifications befitting his birth, and
gifted with attributes aiding his gallantry.

A third member of this noble family played a more remarkable part in
the history of the court during her brief career than either of her
brothers. This was the Lady Elizabeth Butler, eldest daughter of
the duke, who, unfortunately for her own happiness, married my Lord
Chesterfield at the Hague, when, a few months before the restoration,
that nobleman fled to the continent to escape the consequences of
Francis Woolley's murder. In Lely's picture of the young Countess of
Chesterfield, her piquancy attracts at a glance, whilst her beauty
charms on examination. Her cousin, Anthony Hamilton, describes her
as having large blue eyes, very tempting and alluring, a complexion
extremely fair, and a heart "ever open to tender sentiments," by reason
of which her troubles arose, as shall be set down in proper sequence.

Henry Jermyn, Earl of St. Albans, and his nephew, "the little Jermyn,"
were also notable as figuring in court intrigues. The earl was member
of the privy council to his majesty, and moreover held a still closer
connection to the queen mother; for, according to Sir John Reresby,
Madame Buviere, and others, her majesty had privately married his
lordship abroad--an act of condescension he repaid with inhumanity.
Madame Buviere says he never gave the queen a good word; and when
she spoke to him he used to say, "Que me veut cette femme?" The same
authority adds, he treated her majesty in an extremely ill manner,
"so that whilst she had not a faggot to warm herself, he had in
his apartments a good fire and a sumptuous table." [This testimony
concerning the queen's poverty is borne out by Cardinal de Retz. In his
interesting Memoirs he tells of a visit he paid the queen mother, then
an exile in Paris. He found her with her youngest daughter, Henrietta,
in the chamber of the latter. "At my coming in," says the Cardinal, "she
(the queen) said, 'You see, I am come to keep Henrietta company; the
poor child could not rise to-day for want of a fire.' The truth is, that
the Cardinal (Mazarin) for six months together had not ordered her any
money towards her pension; that no tradespeople would trust her for
anything and there was not at her lodgings a single billet. You will do
me the justice to think that the princess of England did not keep her
bed the next day for want of a faggot... Posterity will hardly believe
that a princess of England, grand-daughter to Henry the Great, hath
wanted a faggot in the month of January, in the Louvre, and in the eyes
of the French court."] Pepys records that the marriage of her majesty
to the earl was commonly talked of at the restoration; and he likewise
mentions it was rumoured "that they had a daughter between them in
France. How true," says this gossip, "God knows."

The earl's nephew, Henry Jermyn, is described as having a big head and
little legs, an affected carriage, and a wit consisting "in expressions
learned by rote, which he occasionally employed either in raillery or
love." For all that, he being a man of amorous disposition, the number
of his intrigues was no less remarkable than the rank of those who
shared them. Most notable amongst his conquests was the king's eldest
sister, widow of the Prince of Orange--a lady possessing in no small
degree natural affections for which her illustrious family were
notorious. During the exile of Charles II., Henry Jermyn had made a
considerable figure at her court in Holland by reason of the splendour
of his equipage, entirely supported by his uncle's wealth; he had
likewise made a forcible impression on her heart by virtue of the ardour
of his addresses, wholly sustained by his own effrontery. The effect of
his presence on the princess soon became visible to the court. Rumour
whispered that as Lord St. Albans had already made an alliance with
royalty, his nephew had likewise followed his example; but scandal
declared that young Jermyn and the princess had omitted the ceremony
which should have sanctioned their happiness. The reputation of such an
amour gained him the immediate attention of many women, whose interest
in his character increased with the knowledge of his abilities, and
helped to associate him in their memories with tenderest emotions.

Another figure prominent in this gay and goodly assembly was George
Villiers, second Duke of Buckingham. The faultless beauty of his
face, and graceful symmetry of his figure, would have rendered him
distinguished in a court less sensuously impressionable to physical
perfection, even if his talents had not dazzled, and his wit amused. On
the death of the first Duke of Buckingham, "styled the handsomest bodied
man in England," the late king of pious memory undertook the charge of
the young duke, and had him educated with his own sons. Subsequently
he was sent to Cambridge, and then travelled into France, the better to
acquire that polish of manner and grace of bearing for which he became
distinguished. But, whilst abroad, word was brought him of the distress
of his master, the king; on which the young duke hastened back into
England, became a cavalier, and fought his majesty's battles with
great gallantry. Soon after Charles I. had been beheaded, his faithful
servitor went abroad; but being loyal to the Stuart cause, he journeyed
with Charles II. to Scotland, and afterwards fought beside him in the
bloody battle of Worcester. Whilst the monarch was hiding in Boscobel
Wood, the duke betook himself to London, where, donning a wizard's
mask, a jack-pudding coat, a hat adorned with a fox's tail and cock's
feathers, he masqueraded as a mountebank, and discoursed diverting
nonsense from a stage erected at Charing Cross. After running several
risks, he escaped to France. But alas for the duke, who was born as
Madame Dunois avows, doubtless from experience--"for gallantry and
magnificence," he was now penniless, his great estates being confiscated
by Cromwell. However, conceiving a scheme that might secure him part of
his fortune, he hastened to put it into execution.

It happened that my Lord Fairfax, one of Cromwell's great generals, had
allotted to him by the Protector a portion of the Buckingham estates
that returned five thousand pounds a year. The general was, moreover,
placed in possession of York House, which had likewise belonged to his

Now it happened Lord Fairfax, a generous-tempered man and brave soldier,
had an only child, a daughter destined to become his heiress; aware
of which the duke resolved to marry her, that he might in this manner
recover portion of his estate. The fact of the lady never having seen
him did not interfere with his plans; that she would reject his suit
seemed an impossibility; that she would succumb to the fascination he
invariably exercised over woman was a certainty. Nor did it matter that
Mistress Fairfax was no beauty; for the duke, being grateful for past
favours liberally bestowed by the opposite sex, had no intention of
becoming under any circumstances churlish enough to limit his devotion
to one lady, though she were his wife.

Carefully disguising himself, he journeyed to London, where he was met
by a faithful friend, who promised he would aid him in winning Mistress
Fairfax, towards which end he promptly introduced the duke to that
estimable gentlewoman. Having once obtained speech of her, the remainder
of his scheme was comparatively easy of accomplishment. She loved the
gay and graceful gallant at first sight, and through years of bitter
wrong and cruel neglect continued his faithful and devoted slave.

Though she had become clandestinely acquainted with him, she was too
good a daughter to wed without her father's consent. But this she had
not much difficulty in obtaining. Though Lord Fairfax had fought against
his king, he was not sufficiently republican to scorn alliance with
nobility, nor so thoroughly puritan as to disdain connection with
the ungodly. Accordingly he gave his sanction to the union, which was
celebrated at his mansion at Nun Appleton, within six miles of York.
Now, my Lord Fairfax had not consulted Cromwell's goodwill concerning
this alliance, the news of which reaching the Protector in due time,
made him exceedingly wroth. For he had daughters to marry, and, that he
might strengthen his power, was desirous of wedding them to scions of
nobility; Buckingham being one of those whom he had mentally selected to
become a member of his family. His anger was therefore at once directed
against Fairfax and his grace. The former he could not molest, but the
latter he committed to the Tower; and if the great Protector had not
been soon after seized by fatal illness, the duke would have made his
last journey from thence to Tower Hill. As it fell out he remained a
prisoner until within a year of the coming of Charles, whom he welcomed
with exceeding joy. Being bred with the merry monarch, he had from
boyhood been a favourite of his majesty, with whom he shared a common
love for diversion. He was, therefore, from the first a prominent figure
at Whitehall; his handsome person and extravagant dress adorned the
court; his brilliant wit and poignant satire amused the royal circle.

His grace, however, had a rival, the vivacity of whose temper and
piquancy of whose humour went far to eclipse Buckingham's talent in
these directions. This was the young Earl of Rochester, son of my Lord
Wilmot, who had so successfully aided the king's escape after the battle
of Worcester, for which service he had been created Earl of Rochester
by Charles in Paris. That worthy man dying just a year previous to the
restoration, his son succeeded to his titles, and likewise to an estate
which had been preserved for him by the prudence of his mother. Even in
his young days Lord Rochester gave evidence of possessing a lively wit
and remarkable genius, which were cultivated by his studies at Oxford
and his travels abroad. So that at the age of eighteen, when he returned
to England and presented himself at Whitehall, his sprightly parts won
him the admiration of courtiers and secured him the favour of royalty.
Nor was the young earl less distinguished by his wit and learning than
by his face and figure; the delicate beauty of his features and natural
grace of his person won him the love of many women, whom the tenderness
of his heart and generosity of his youth did not permit him to leave

Soon surfeited by his conquests in the drawing-room, he was anxious to
extend his triumphs in another direction; and, selecting the sea as a
scene of action, he volunteered to sail under my Lord Sandwich in quest
of the Dutch East Indian fleet. At the engagements to which this led he
exhibited a dauntless courage that earned him renown abroad, and covered
him with honour on his return to court. From that time he, for many
years, surrendered himself to a career of dissipation, often abandoning
the paths of decency and decorum, pursuing vice in its most daring and
eccentric fashion, employing his genius in the composition of lampoons
which spared not even the king, and in the writing of ribald verses, the
very names of which are not proper to indite. Lord Orford speaks of him
as a man "whom the muses were fond to inspire, and ashamed to avow; and
who practised, without the least reserve, that secret which can make
verses more read for their defects than for their merits." More of my
Lord Rochester and his poems anon.

Thomas Killigrew, another courtier, was a poet, dramatist, and man of
excellent wit. He had been page in the service of his late majesty, and
had shared exile with the present monarch, to whose pleasures abroad and
at home he was ever ready to pander. At the restoration he was appointed
a groom of the bedchamber, and, moreover, was made master of the
revels--an office eminently suited to his tastes, and well fitted to
exercise his capacities. His ready wit amused the king so much, that
he was occasionally led to freedoms of speech which taxed his majesty's
good-nature. His escapades diverted the court to such an extent, that he
frequently took the liberty of affording it entertainment at the expense
of its reputation. The "beau Sidney," a man "of sweet and caressing
temper," handsome appearance, and amorous disposition; Sir George
Etherege, a wit and a playwright; and Charles Sackville, Earl of Dorset,
a poet and man of sprightly speech, were likewise courtiers of note.

Among such congenial companions the merry monarch abandoned himself
wholly to the pursuit of pleasure, and openly carried on his intrigue
with Barbara Palmer. According to the testimony of her contemporaries,
she was a woman of surpassing loveliness and violent passions. Gilbert
Burnet, whilst admitting her beauty, proclaims her defects. She was, he
relates, "most enormously vicious and ravenous, foolish but imperious,
very uneasy to the king, and always carrying on intrigues with other
men, while she yet pretended she was jealous of him." Pepys testifies
likewise to her physical attractions so long as she reigned paramount
in the king's affections; but when another woman, no less fair, came
betwixt my lady and his majesty's favour, Mr. Pepys, being a loyal
man and a frail, found greater beauty in the new love, whose charms he
avowed surpassed the old. To his most interesting diary posterity is
indebted for glimpses of the manner in which the merry monarch and his
mistress behaved themselves during the first months of the restoration.
Now he tells of "great doings of musique," which were going on at Madame
Palmer's house, situated in the Strand, next Earl Sandwich's, and of
the king and the duke being with that lady: again, in the Chapel
Royal, Whitehall, he observed, whilst Dr. Herbert Croft prayed and
preached, "how the Duke of York and Mrs. Palmer did talk to one another
very wantonly through the hangings that part the king's closet and
the closet where the ladies sit." And later on, when he witnessed "The
Humorous Lieutenant" performed before the court, he noted the royal
favourite was likewise present, "with whom the king do discover a great
deal of familiarity."

Presently, in February, 1661, exactly nine months after his majesty's
return, Mrs. Palmer gave birth to a daughter. To the vast amusement
of the court, no less than three men claimed the privilege of being
considered father of this infant. One of these was my Lord Chesterfield,
whom the child grew to resemble in face and person; the second was Roger
Palmer, who left her his estate; the third was King Charles, who had
her baptized Anne Palmer Fitzroy, adopted her as his daughter, and
eventually married her to the Earl of Sussex.

Soon after the restoration the subject of his majesty's marriage was
mooted by his councillors, who trusted a happy union would redeem him
from vice, and, by bringing him heirs, help to establish him more firmly
in the affections of his people. The king lending a willing ear to this
advice, the sole difficulty in carrying it into execution rested in
the selection of a bride congenial to his taste and equal to his
sovereignty. King Louis of France had no sisters, and his nieces had
not commended themselves to the merry monarch's favour during his
stay abroad. Spain had two infantas, but one was wedded to the King
of France, and the other betrothed to the heir of the royal house of
Austria. Germany, of course, had princesses in vast numbers, who awaited
disposal; but when they were proposed to King Charles, "he put off the
discourse with raillery," as Lord Halifax narrates. "Odd's fish," he
would say, shrugging his shoulders and making a grimace, "I could not
marry one of them: they are all dull and foggy!"

Catherine of Braganza, daughter of Don Juan IV. of Portugal, was
unwedded, and to her Charles ultimately addressed himself. Alliance with
her commended itself to the nation from the fact that the late king,
before the troubled times began, had entered into a negotiation with
Portugal concerning the marriage of this same infanta and his present
majesty; and such was the esteem in which the memory of Charles I. was
now held, that compliance with his desires was regarded as a sacred
obligation. The Portuguese ambassador assured the merry monarch that the
princess, by reason of her beauty, person, and age, was most suited to
him. To convince him of this, he showed his majesty a portrait of the
lady, which the king examining, declared "that person could not be
unhandsome." The ambassador, who was of a certainty most anxious for
this union, then said it was true the princess was a catholic, and would
never change her faith; but she was free from "meddling activity;" that
she had been reared by a wise mother, and would only look to the freedom
of practising her own religion without interfering with that of others.
Finally, he added that the princess would have a dowry befitting
her high station, of no less a sum than five hundred thousand pounds
sterling in ready money.

Moreover, by way of addition to this already handsome portion, the Queen
of Portugal was ready to assign over and annex to the English crown,
the Island of Bombay, in the East Indies, and Tangier on the African
coast--a place of strength and importance, which would be of great
benefit and security to British commerce. Nor was this all. Portugal
was likewise willing to grant England free trade in Brazil and the East
Indies, a privilege heretofore denied all other countries. This was
indeed a dower which none of the "dull and foggy" German princesses
could bring the crown. The prospect of obtaining so much ready money
especially commended the alliance to the extravagant taste of his
majesty, who had this year complained to Parliament of his poverty, by
reason of which he "was so much grieved to see many of his friends come
to him at Whitehall, and to think they were obliged to go somewhere else
for a dinner."

The merry monarch was therefore well pleased at the prospect of his
union, as were likewise the chancellor and four or five "competent
considerers of such an affair" whom he consulted. These worthy
counsellors and men of sage repute, who included in their number the
Duke of Ormond and Sir Edward Nicholas, Secretary of State, the Earl
of Manchester, and the Earl of Southampton, after regretting it was not
agreeable to his majesty to select a queen who professed the protestant
religion, gave it as their opinion there was no catholic princess in
Europe whom he, with so much reason and advantage, could marry as the
infanta of Portugal. They, moreover, added that the sum promised as
part of her portion, setting aside the places, "was much greater--almost
double to what any king had ever received in money by any marriage."
The council, therefore, without a dissenting voice, advised him to the

On the 8th of May, 1661, his majesty, being clad in robes of state,
and wearing the crown, rode in great pomp to open Parliament, which he
addressed from the throne. In the course of his speech, he announced his
approaching marriage in a singularly characteristic address. "I will
not conclude without telling you some news," he said, "news that I think
will be very acceptable to you, and therefore I should think myself
unkind, and ill-natured if I did not impart it to you. I have been put
in mind by my friends that it was now time to marry, and I have
thought so myself ever since I came into England. But there appeared
difficulties enough in the choice, though many overtures have been made
to me; and if I should never marry until I could make such a choice
against which there could be no foresight of any inconvenience that may
ensue, you would live to see me an old bachelor, which I think you do
not desire to do. I can now tell you, not only that I am resolved to
marry, but with whom I am resolved to marry. If God please, it is with
the daughter of Portugal. And I will make all the haste I can to fetch
you a queen hither, who, I doubt not, will bring great blessings with
her to me and you."

Next day addresses of congratulation were presented to his majesty
by both Houses. This gratifying news was made known to the Portuguese
ambassador, Count da Ponte, by the lord high chancellor, who visited his
excellency for the purpose, attended by state befitting such a great
and joyful occasion; two gentlemen preceded him, bearing respectively
a gilded mace and a crimson velvet purse embroidered with the arms
of Great Britain, and many others following him to the ambassador's
residence. A month later, the marriage articles were signed; the new
queen being guaranteed the free exercise of her faith, and the sum
of thirty thousand a year during life; whilst the king was assured
possession of her great dowry, together with the territories already
mentioned, one of which, Bombay, ultimately became of such vast
importance to the crown.

Charles then despatched the Portuguese ambassador to Catherine--from
this time styled queen--in order to make arrangements for her journey
into England. Likewise he wrote a letter, remarkable for the fervour
of its sentiments and elegance of its diction, which da Ponte was
commissioned to convey her. This courtly epistle, addressed by Charles
to "The Queen of Great Britain, my wife and lady, whom God preserve," is
dated July 2nd, 1661, and runs as follows:


"Already, at my request, the good Count da Ponte has set off for Lisbon;
for me the signing of the marriage act has been great happiness;
and there is about to be despatched at this time after him one of my
servants, charged with what would appear necessary, whereby may
be declared, on my part, the inexpressible joy of this felicitous
conclusion, which, when received, will hasten the coming of your

"I am going to make a short progress into some of my provinces; in the
meantime, whilst I go from my most sovereign good, yet I do not complain
as to whither I go, seeking in vain tranquillity in my restlessness;
hoping to see the beloved person of your majesty in these kingdoms
already your own, and that with the same anxiety with which, after my
long banishment, I desired to see myself within them, and my subjects,
desiring also to behold me amongst them, having manifested their most
ardent wishes for my return, well known to the world. The presence of
your serenity is only wanting to unite us, under the protection of God,
in the health and content I desire. I have recommended to the queen, our
lady and mother, the business of the Count da Ponte, who, I must here
avow, has served me in what I regard as the greatest good in this world,
which cannot be mine less than it is that of your majesty; likewise not
forgetting the good Richard Russell, who laboured on his part to the
same end. [Richard Russell was Bishop of Portalegre, in Portugal, and
Almoner to Catherine of Braganza.]

"The very faithful husband of your majesty, whose hand he kisses,

                    "CHARLES REX."

London, 2nd of July, 1661.

During many succeeding months preparations were made in England to
receive the young Queen. The "Royal Charles," a stately ship capable
of carrying eighty cannon and six hundred men, was suitably fitted to
convey her to England.

The state room and apartments destined for use of the future bride were
furnished and ornamented in most luxuriant manner, being upholstered
in crimson velvet, handsomely carpeted, and hung with embroideries and
taffeties. Lord Sandwich was made commander of the gallant fleet which
in due time accompanied the "Royal Charles." He was likewise appointed
ambassador extraordinary, and charged with safely conducting the bride
unto her bridegroom.

In due time, my lord, in high spirits, set sail with his gallant fleet,
and on arriving at Portugal was received with every remark of profound
respect, and every sign of extravagant joy. Stately ceremonies at court
and brilliant rejoicings in public made time speed with breathless
rapidity. But at length there came a day when my Lord Sandwich
encountered a difficulty he had not foreseen. According to instructions,
he had taken possession of Tangier before proceeding for the queen; and
he had likewise been directed to see her dowry put on board one of his
ships, before receiving her on the "Royal Charles."

Now the Queen of Portugal, who acted as regent since the death of her
husband, being strongly desirous of seeing her daughter the consort of a
great sovereign, and of protecting her country from the tyranny of Spain
by an alliance with England, had gathered the infanta's marriage
portion with infinite trouble; which had necessitated the selling of her
majesty's jewels and much of her plate, and the borrowing of both plate
and jewels from churches and monasteries all over the land. The sums
accumulated in this manner she had carefully stowed away in great
sacks; but, alas, between the date on which the marriage treaty had been
signed, and arrival of the English ambassador to claim the bride, Spain
had made war upon Portugal, and the dowry had to be expended in arming
the country for defence. Therefore, when my Lord Sandwich mentioned the
dowry, her majesty, with keen regrets and infinite apologies, informed
him so great were the straits of poverty to which her kingdom was
reduced, that she could pay only half the stipulated sum at present,
but promised the remaining portion should be made up the following year.
Moreover, the part which she then asked him to accept was made up of
jewels, sugars, spices and other commodities which she promised to have
converted by arrangement into solid gold in London.

The ambassador was therefore sorely perplexed, and knew not whether
he should return to England without the bride, or take her and the
merchandise which represented half her dowry on board his ship. He
decided on the latter course, and the queen, with her court and retinue,
set sail for merry England on the 23rd of April, 1662.


  The king's intrigue with Barbara Palmer.--The queen arrives at
  Portsmouth.--Visited by the Duke of York.--The king leaves town,--First
  interview with his bride.--His letter to the lord chancellor.--Royal
  marriage and festivities.--Arrival at Hampton Court Palace.--Prospects
  of a happy union.--Lady Castlemaine gives birth to a second child.--The
  king's infatuation.--Mistress and wife.--The queen's misery.--The king's
  cruelty.--Lord Clarendon's messages.--His majesty resolves to break the
  queen's spirit.--End of the domestic quarrel.

Whilst the king conducted the negotiations of his marriage with
Catherine of Braganza, he likewise continued the pursuit of his intrigue
with Barbara Palmer. The unhappy fascination which this vile woman
exercised over his majesty increased with time; and though his ministers
declared a suitable marriage would reform his ways, his courtiers
concluded he had no intention of abandoning his mistress in favour of
his wife. For Barbara Palmer, dreading the loss of her royal lover and
the forfeiture of wealth accruing from this connection, had firmly bound
him in her toils. Moreover, in order that he might continually abide
under her influence, she conceived a scheme which would of necessity
bring her into constant intercourse with him and the young queen.
She therefore demanded he would appoint her one of the ladies of the
bedchamber to her majesty, to which he, heedless of the insult this
would fix upon his wife, readily consented.

In order to qualify Barbara Palmer for such a position, it was necessary
she should be raised to the peerage. This could only be accomplished by
ennobling her husband, unless public decency were wholly ignored,
and she was created a peeress in her own right, whilst he remained a
commoner. After some faint show of hesitation, Roger Palmer accepted the
honours thrust upon him by reason of his wife's infamy. On the 11th of
December, 1661, he was created Earl of Castlemaine, and Baron Limerick
in the peerage of Ireland, when the royal favourite became a countess.

And now the merry month of May being arrived, the queen was speedily
expected; and on the night of the 13th joyful tidings reached London
that the "Royal Charles," accompanied by the fleet, was in sight of
Portsmouth. At which news there was great rejoicing throughout the town,
church bells ringing merrily, and bonfires blazing brightly; but before
the Countess of Castlemaine's house, where the king, according to his
custom was at supper, there was no fire, though such signs of joy burned
"at all the rest of the doors almost in the streets, which was much

Next day the fleet arrived in the harbour of Portsmouth, about four in
the afternoon. Heath says the people gathered to receive the bride with
all possible demonstrations of honour, "the nobility and gentry and
multitudes of Londoners, in most rich apparel and in great numbers,
waiting on the shore for her landing; and the mayor and aldermen and
principal persons of that corporation being in their gowns, and with a
present and a speech ready to entertain her; the cannon and small shot,
both from round that town and the whole fleet echoing to one another
the loud proclamations of their joy." These good people were, however,
destined to disappointment; for though the bride was impatient to land,
because suffering from prostration consequent on a rough voyage and
severe illness, she was not, in observance of court etiquette, permitted
to leave the ship until the king arrived. This did not take place
until six days later, Charles being detained in town by reason of some
important bills then passing in Parliament, which it was necessary for
him to sign. He had, however, despatched his royal brother of York, then
Lord High Admiral of England, to meet her at sea, and give her greeting
in his name. Accordingly the duke had encountered the fleet at the Isle
of Wight, and gone on board the queen's ship, when she received him in
her cabin seated under a canopy on a chair of state. His royal highness
expressed his joy at her arrival, presented "his majesty's high respects
and his exceeding affection for her," and paid her many compliments.
Lord Chesterfield, who had been appointed chamberlain to the queen,
tells us: "Although James, in consequence of his near connection with
the sovereign, might have saluted the royal bride, he did not avail
himself of this privilege, out of a delicate regard to his majesty's
feelings, that he might be the first man to offer that compliment to his
queen; she coming out of a country where it was not the fashion." The
Duke of York presented some noblemen who had accompanied him; after
which she introduced the members of her suite. The queen and her
brother-in-law then held a conversation in the Spanish language, when
James assured her of his affection, and besought her to accept his
services. To these compliments she replied in like manner, when he arose
to depart. The queen advanced three paces with him, not withstanding
that he protested against such courtesy, bidding her remember her rank.
At this she smiled, and answered with much sweetness, "She wished to do
that out of affection, which she was not obliged to do"--a reply which
made a favourable impression on his mind. Whilst she continued on
board, the duke and his suite visited her daily, entering freely into
conversation with her, and finding her "a most agreeable lady." Probably
at the desire of the king, she left the ship before his arrival, and was
conveyed to his majesty's house at Portsmouth, where she was received
by the Countess of Suffolk, first lady of the bedchamber, and four other
ladies who had been appointed members of her household. One of her first
requests to these was--as may be learned from a letter of Lord Sandwich,
preserved in the Bodleian library--"that they would put her in that
habit they thought would be most pleasing to the king." Before leaving
the "Royal Charles" she spoke to all the officers of the ship, thanked
them for their services, and permitted them to kiss her hand. She
then presented a collar of gold to the captain, and gave money to be
distributed among the crew.

When at length the parliamentary business was concluded, the king found
himself in readiness to depart. The last words he addressed to his
faithful commons before starting are worth recording: "The mention of my
wife's arrival," said he, in the pleasant familiar tone it was his wont
to use, "puts me in mind to desire you to put that compliment upon her,
that her entrance into this town may be made with more decency than
the ways will now suffer it to be; and to that purpose I pray you would
quickly pass such laws as are before you, in order to the mending those
ways, that she may not find Whitehall surrounded with water."

At nine o'clock on the night of the 19th of May, his majesty left London
in Lord Northumberland's carriage, on his way to Portsmouth. Arriving
at Kingston an hour later, he entered Lord Chesterfield's coach, which
awaited him there by appointment, and drove to Guildford, at which town
he slept the night. In the morning he was up betimes, and posted to
Portsmouth, where he arrived at noon. The queen, being ill of a slight
fever, was yet in bed: but the king, all impatient to see the bride
which heaven had sent him, sought admittance to her chamber. The poor
princess evidently did not look to advantage; for his majesty told
Colonel Legg he thought at first glance "they had brought him a bat
instead of a woman." On further acquaintance, however, she seemed to
have afforded more pleasure to the king's sight, for the next day he
expressed the satisfaction he felt concerning her, in a letter addressed
to the lord chancellor, which is preserved in the library of the British
Museum, and runs as follows:

"PORTSMOUTH, 21st May (Eight in the Morning).

"I arrived here yesterday about two in the afternoon, and, as soon as I
had shifted myself, I went into, my wife's chamber, whom I found in
bed, by reason of a little cough and some inclination to a fever: but I
believe she will find herself very well in the morning when she wakes.
I can now only give you an account of what I have seen abed, which, in
short, is, her face is not so exact as to be called a beauty, though her
eyes are excellent good, and not anything in her face that in the least
degree can shock one: on the contrary, she hath as much agreeableness
in her looks altogether as ever I saw; and if I have any skill in
physiognomy, which I think I have, she must be as good a woman as ever
was born. Her conversation, as much as I can perceive, is very good, for
she has wit enough, and a most agreeable voice. You would wonder to
see how well acquainted we are already. In a word, I think myself very
happy; for I am confident our two humours will agree very well together.
I have no more to say: my Lord Lieutenant will give you an account of
the rest."

The king was attended by Lord Sandwich during this interview, and his
lordship, in a letter addressed to the lord chancellor, informed him
the meeting between his majesty and the infanta, "hath been with much
contentment on both sides, and that we are like to be very happy in
their conjunction." Next morning the Countess of Suffolk, and other
ladies appointed to wait upon the bride, dressed her according to the
English fashion, in "a habit they thought would be most pleasing to
the king," in which she was married. The ceremony was first performed
according to the rites of the Catholic Church, by the Rev. Lord Aubigny,
brother to the Duke of Richmond, in the queen's bedchamber; that
apartment being selected for the purpose, as affording a privacy
necessary to be maintained, by reason of the prejudice then existing
towards Catholicism. There were present the Duke of York, Philip,
afterwards Cardinal Howard, and five Portuguese, all of whom were bound
over to keep the strictest secrecy concerning what they witnessed.
Later in the day, Dr. Sheldon, Bishop of London, married their majesties
according to the form prescribed by the Church of England. The latter
ceremony took place in the presence chamber. A rail divided the
apartment, at the upper part of which the king and queen, the bishops,
the Spanish Ambassador, and Sir Richard Fanshaw stood; the lower
portion being crowded by the court. When Dr. Sheldon had declared their
majesties married, the Countess of Suffolk, according to a custom of the
time, detached the ribbons from the bride's dress, and, cutting them in
pieces, distributed them amongst those present.

Feasting, balls, and diversions of all kinds followed the celebration
of the royal nuptials, and for a time the king was delighted with
his bride. Four days after the marriage he writes again to the lord
chancellor in most cheerful tone:

"My brother will tell you of all that passes here, which I hope will
be to your satisfaction. I am sure 'tis so much to mine that I cannot
easily tell you how happy I think myself, and must be the worst
man living (which I hope I am not) if I be not a good husband. I am
confident never two humours were better fitted together than ours are.
We cannot stir from hence till Tuesday, by reason that there is not
carts to be had to-morrow to transport all our GUARDE INFANTAS, without
which there is no stirring: so you are not to expect me till Thursday
night at Hampton Court."

They did not reach the palace until the 29th of May, that being the
king's birthday, and, moreover, the anniversary of his entrance into
London; a date which the Queen's arrival now caused to be celebrated
with triple magnificence and joy. When the coach that conveyed
their majesties drew near, the whole palace seemed astir with happy
excitement. Double lines of soldiers, both horse and foot, lined the way
from the gates to the entrance. In the great hall the lord chancellor,
foreign ambassadors, judges, and councillors of state awaited to
pay homage to their majesties; whilst in various apartments were the
nobility and men of quality, with their ladies, ranged according to
their rank, being all eager to kiss the new queen's hand. Sure never was
such show of gladness. Bells rang people cheered, bonfires blazed.

In the evening news was brought that the Duchess of York was being rowed
to Hampton from town; hearing which, the king, with a blithe heart,
betook his way to meet her through the garden, now bright with spring
flowers and fragrant with sweet scents, till he arrived at the gate
by which the silver streak of the pleasant Thames flowed past. And
presently on this calm May eve the sound of oars splashing in the tide
was heard, and anon a barge came in sight, hung with silken curtains
and emblazoned with the arms of royalty. From this the Duchess of York
disembarked, aided by the king. When she had offered her congratulations
to him, he, taking her hand, led her to his bride, that such fair
speeches might be repeated to her majesty. And coming into the queen's
presence the duchess would have gone upon her knees and kissed her
majesty's hand; but Catherine raised her in her arms, and kissed her on
the cheek. Then amidst much joy the happy evening waned to night.

The royal palace of Hampton Court, in which Charles had decided on
spending his honeymoon, had been raised by the magnificent Wolsey in the
plenitude of his power as a place of recreation. Since his downfall
it had been used by royalty as a summer residence, it being in truth a
stately pleasure house. The great pile contained upwards of four
hundred rooms. The principal apartments had cedar or gilded and frescoed
ceilings, and walls hung with rare tapestries and curtains heavy with
gold. Moreover, these rooms contained furniture of most skilful design
and costly manufacture, and were adorned by the choice works of such
masters of their art as Holbein, Bellini, Vansomer, Rubens, and Raphael;
and withal enriched with Indian cabinets, such as never were seen in
England before, which the queen had brought with her from Portugal.

The great hall had been the scene of many sumptuous banquets. The chapel
was rich in carved designs. Her majesty's bedroom, with its curtains of
crimson silk, its vast mirror and toilet of beaten and massive gold, was
a splendid apartment--the more so from its state bed, which Evelyn says
was "an embroidery of silver on crimson velvet, and cost L8,000, being
a present made by the States of Holland, when his majesty returned, and
had formerly been given by them to our king's sister, ye Princess of
Orange, and being bought of her againe, was now presented to ye king."
Around this noble residence, where the court was wont to tarry in summer
months, stretched broad and flowerful gardens, with wide parterres,
noble statues, sparkling fountains, and marble vases; and beyond lay the
park, planted "with swete rows of lime-trees."

And here all day long, in the fair summer time of this year, pleasure
held boundless sway. Sauntering in balmy gardens, or seeking shelter
from sun-rays in green glades and leafy groves, their majesties,
surrounded by their brilliant court, chased bright hours away in frolic
and pleasantry from noon till night. Then revelry, gaining new life,
began once more, when courtly figures danced graceful measures to sounds
of mirthful strains, under the lustre of innumerable lights.

For a while it seemed as if a brave prospect of happiness was in store
for the young queen. Her love for her husband, her delight in his
affection, her pride in his accomplishments, together with her
simplicity, innocence, and naivete, completely won his heart. These
claims to his affection were, moreover, strengthened by the charms of
her person. Lord Chesterfield, a man whom experience of the sex had
made critical, writes that she "was exactly shaped, has lovely hands,
excellent eyes, a good countenance, a pleasing voice, fine hair, and,
in a word, what an understanding man would wish for in a wife."
Notwithstanding the attractions of her majesty's person which he
enumerates, he adds his fears that "all these will hardly make things
run in the right channel; but, if it should, our court will require a
new modelling." In this note of alarm he forebodes danger to come. A man
of his majesty's character, witty and careless, weak and voluptuous, was
not likely to reconstruct his court, or reclaim it from ways he loved.
Nor was his union calculated to exercise a lasting impression on him.
The affection he bore his wife in the first weeks of their married
life was due to the novelty he found in her society, together with the
absence of temptation in the shape of his mistress. Constancy to the
marriage vow was scarcely to be expected from a man whose morals had
never been shackled by restraint; yet faithlessness to a bride was
scarcely to be anticipated ere the honeymoon had waned. This was,
however, the unhappy fate which awaited Catherine of Braganza.

It happened early in the month of June, whilst the court was at Hampton,
my Lady Castlemaine, who had remained in town through illness, gave
birth to a second child. The infant was baptized Charles Palmer,
adopted by the king as his own, and as such subsequently created Duke
of Southampton. This event seemed to renew all his majesty's tenderness
towards her. Wearied by the charm of innocence in the person of his
wife, his weak nature yielded to the attraction of vice in that of his
mistress. He, therefore, frequently left Hampton Court that he might
ride to London, visit the countess, and fritter away some hours in her
presence; being heedless alike of the insult he dealt the queen, and the
scandal he gave the nation.

The while my Lord Castlemaine lived with the lady who shared his title,
and whom he called his wife; but their continuance to abide in harmony
and goodwill was, soon after the birth of this child, interrupted for
ever. My lord was certainly a loyal subject, but he was likewise a
religious man, as may be judged, not by that which has been recorded,
but from the narration which follows. Having been bred a Catholic,
he was anxious his wife's son should be enrolled a member of the same
community. To this end he had him baptized by a priest, a proceeding of
which the king wholly disapproved; not because his majesty was attached
to any religion in particular, but rather that he resented interference
with the infant whom he rested satisfied was his own child. Accordingly,
by the king's command, Lady Castlemaine's son was rebaptized by the
rector of St. Margaret's, Westminster, in the presence of his majesty,
the Earl of Oxford, and the Countess of Suffolk, first lady of the
bedchamber to the queen and aunt to the king's mistress.

This exasperated my Lord Castlemaine to such a degree that high words
passed between him and his lady: on which he resolved to part from her
for ever. However, she was more prompt to act in the matter than he;
for, taking advantage of his absence one day, she packed up her jewels,
plate, and household treasures, and departed to the residence of her
uncle, Colonel Edward Villiers, at Richmond. This step was probably
taken, if not by his majesty's suggestion, at least with his full
approval; for the house she selected brought her within an easy distance
of Hampton Court, into which the king designed promptly to introduce

Now rumour of the king's liason had spread beyond the English nation,
and had been whispered even at the secluded court of Portugal, into the
ears of the bride elect. And the queen regent, dreading the trouble
this might draw upon her daughter, had counselled her never to admit
his majesty's mistress into her presence. This advice the young queen
determined to act upon; and accordingly when Charles, a couple of days
after their marriage, presented her with a list of those appointed to
her household--amongst whom was my Lady Castlemaine--her majesty drew a
pen across the name of the dreaded favourite. The king, if surprised
or indignant, made no remark at the time, but none the less held to
the resolution he had taken of appointing the countess a lady of the
bedchamber. No further attempt of intruding his mistress's presence upon
his wife was made until Lady Castlemaine came to Richmond.

It happened on the afternoon of the day on which the favourite arrived
her majesty sat in the great drawing-room, surrounded by a brilliant
throng of noble and beautiful women and gay and gallant men. The windows
of the apartment stood open; outside fountains splashed in the sun;
music played in a distant glade: and all the world seemed glad. And
as the queen listened to pleasant sounds of wit and gossip, murmuring
around her, the courtiers, at sound of a well-known footstep, suddenly
ceasing their discourse, fell back on either side adown the room. At
that moment the king entered, leading a lady apparelled in magnificent
attire, the contour of whose face and outline of whose figure
distinguished her as a woman of supreme and sensuous loveliness.

His majesty, suceedingly rich in waving feathers, glittering satins, and
fluttering ribbons, returned the gracious bows of his courtiers to
right and left; and, unconscious of the curious and perplexed looks they
interchanged, advanced to where his wife sat, and introduced my
Lady Castlemaine. Her majesty bowed and extended her hand, which the
countess, having first courtesyed profoundly, raised to her lips. The
queen either had not caught the name, or had disassociated it from that
of her husband's mistress; but in an instant the character of the woman
presented, and the insult the king had inflicted, flashed upon her mind.
Coming so suddenly, it was more than she could bear; all colour fled
from her face, tears rushed to her eyes, blood gushed from her nostrils,
and she fell senseless to the floor.

Such strong evidence of the degree in which his young wife felt the
indignity forced upon her, by no means softened his majesty's heart
towards her, but rather roused his indignation at what he considered
public defiance of his authority. But as his nature was remote from
roughness, and his disposition inclined to ease, he at first tried to
gain his desire by persuasion, and therefore besought the queen she
would suffer his mistress to become a lady of the bedchamber. But
whenever the subject was mentioned to her majesty, she burst into tears,
and would not give heed to his words. Charles therefore, incensed on his
side, deserted her company, and sought the society of those ever ready
to entertain him. And as the greater number of his courtiers were fully
as licentious as himself, they had no desire he should become subject to
his wife, or alter the evil tenor of his ways.

Therefore in their conversation they cited to him the example of his
grandfather, King James I., of glorious memory, who had not dissembled
his passions, nor suffered the same to become a reproach to those who
returned his love; but had obliged his queen to bear with their company,
and treat them with grace and favour; and had, moreover, raised his
natural children to the degree of princes of the blood. They told
Charles he had inherited the disposition of his grandsire, and they were
sure he would treat the objects of his affection in like manner as that
king had done. Lady Castlemaine, her friends moreover argued, had, by
reason of her love for his majesty, parted from her husband; and now
that she had been so publicly made an object of the queen's indignation,
she would, if abandoned by him, meet with rude contempt from the world.
To such discourses as these the king lent a willing ear, the more as
they encouraged him to act according to his desires. He was therefore
fully determined to support his mistress; and firmly resolved to subdue
his wife.

Meanwhile, all joyousness vanished from the court; the queen seemed
thoroughly dejected, the king bitterly disappointed, and the courtiers
grievously disturbed. Moreover, rumours of the trouble which had risen
between their majesties became noised abroad, and gave the people
occasion of speaking indifferently of their lord the king. Now Charles
in his unhappiness betook himself to the chancellor, who was not only
his sage adviser and trusted friend, but who had already gained the
esteem and confidence of the queen. My lord, by reason of his services
to the late king, and his friendship towards his present majesty, took
to himself the privilege of speaking with freedom and boldness whenever
his advice was asked by the monarch. As Burnet tells us, the worthy
chancellor would never make any application to the king's mistress, nor
allow anything to pass the seal in which she was named; nor would he
ever consent to visit her, which the bishop considered "was maintaining
the decencies of virtue in a very solemn manner." The king knowing my
lord was the only one of all the strangers surrounding the queen whom
she believed devoted to her service, and to whose advice she would
hearken with trust, therefore bade him represent to her the advisability
of obedience.

Whereon the chancellor boldly pointed out to him "the hard-heartedness
and cruelty of laying such a command upon the queen, which flesh and
blood could not comply with." He also begged to remind the monarch of
what he had heard him say upon the occasion of a like indignity
being offered by a neighbouring king to his queen, inasmuch as he
had compelled her to endure the presence of his mistress at court. On
hearing which King Charles avowed it was "a piece of ill-nature that he
could never be guilty of; and if ever he should be guilty of having a
mistress after he had a wife, which he hoped he should never be, she
should never come where his wife was; he would never add that to the
vexation, of which she would have enough without it." Finally my lord
added that pursuit of the course his majesty had resolved on, was a most
certain way to lose the respect and affections of his people; that the
excesses he had already fallen into had in some degree lost him ground
in their good esteem, but that his continuance of them would "break the
hearts of all his friends, and be grateful only to those who desired the
destruction of monarchy."

Charles heard him with some impatience, but in his reply betrayed that
graciousness of manner which, never forsaking him, went far in securing
the favour of those with whom he conversed. He commenced by telling the
chancellor he felt assured his words were prompted by the affection in
which he held him; and then having by a pathway of courteous speeches
found his way to the old man's heart, his majesty broached the subject
uppermost in his mind. His conscience and his honour, he said, for
he laid claim to both, led him to repair the ruin he had caused Lady
Castlemaine's reputation by promoting her to the position of a lady of
the bedchamber; and his gratitude prompted him to avow a friendship for
her, "which he owed as well to the memory of her father as to her own
person," and therefore he would not be restrained from her company and
her conversation.

Moreover, he had proceeded so far in the business, that if not
successful Lady Castlemaine would be subjected to all imaginable
contempt, and be exposed to universal ridicule. If, he added, the queen
conformed to his wishes in this regard, it would be the only hard thing
he should ever require of her; and, indeed, she might make it very
easy, for my lady must behave with all possible respect in her presence,
otherwise she should never see his face again. Then he begged the
chancellor to wait upon her majesty, lay bare his arguments, and urge
her to receive the countess with some show of favour. The chancellor,
though not pleased with his mission, yet in hope of healing private
discord and averting public scandal, undertook to counsel the queen to
obedience, and accordingly waited on her in her private apartments.

Now her majesty's education had been such as kept her in complete
ignorance of the world's ways. The greater part of her life had been
spent in the peaceful retirement of a convent, which she left for her
mother's country palace, a home scarcely less secluded. Maynard, in a
letter preserved in the State Paper Office, written from Lisbon when the
royal marriage was proposed, says the infanta, "as sweete a disposition
princess as everr was borne," was "bred hugely retired. She hath," he
continues, "hardly been tenn tymes out of the palace in her life. In
five years tyme she was not out of doores, untill she hurde of his
majestie's intentions to make her queen of Ingland, since which she hath
been to visit two saintes in the city; and very shortly shee intends to
pay her devotion to some saintes in the country."

From a life of innocence she was brought for the first time face to face
with vice, by one who should have been foremost in shielding her from
its contact. All her training taught her to avoid the contamination
sought to be forced upon her; all her new-born love for her husband
prompted her to loathe the mistress who shared his affections. A
stranger in a strange land, a slighted queen, a neglected wife, an
outraged woman, her sufferings were bitter, Her wrongs were hard to
bear. Therefore when my lord chancellor came and made known the object
of his visit, she broke into a passion of tears, and could not speak
from force of sobs that seemed to rend her heart, and wholly choked her

The chancellor then retired with some dismay, but waited on her again
next day, when he found her more calm. She begged he would excuse the
outburst of feeling he had witnessed, but added very pitifully that when
she thought of her misfortunes "she sometimes gave vent to that passion
which was ready to break her heart." The advice, or, as he terms it,
"the evidence of his devotion," which the chancellor gave was worthy of
a courtier and a philosopher. He told the young queen he doubted "she
was little beholden to her education, that had given her no better
information of the follies and iniquities of mankind; of which he
presumed the climate from whence she came could have given more
instances than this cold region would afford." Had she been properly
instructed, he furthermore hinted, she would never have thought herself
so miserable, or her condition so insupportable; and indeed he could not
comprehend the reason of her loud complaint.

At this she could no longer suppress the tears which came into her dark
eyes, and cried out she did not expect to find her husband in love with
another woman. Then my lord besought her submission to the king; but she
remained unshaken in the resolution she had formed. She was ready to ask
his majesty's pardon for tiny passion or peevishness she had been guilty
of, but added, "the fire appearing in her eyes where the water was," she
would never endure the presence of his mistress; and rather than submit
to such insult she would "put herself on board any little vessel" and
return to Lisbon.

Back went the chancellor, with a heavy heart and a troubled face, to the
king. He softened the queen's words as much as possible, and assured his
majesty her resistance to his will proceeded "from the great passion
of love she had for him, which transported her beyond the limits of
reason." But this excuse, which should have rejoiced a husband's heart,
only irritated his majesty's temper. That night a violent quarrel took
place between the husband and wife, yet scarce more than bride and
bridegroom. When they had retired, the king--being inflamed with the
words of his courtiers, who assured him the dispute had now resolved
itself into a question of who should govern--reproached the queen with
stubbornness and want of duty; upon which she answered by charging him
with tyranny and lack of affection. One word borrowed another, till,
in his anger, he used threats when she declared she would leave the
kingdom. "The passion and noise of the night reached too many ears to
be a secret the next day," says the chancellor, "and the whole court was
full of that which ought to have been known to nobody."

When the royal pair met next morning, they neither looked at nor spoke
to each other. Days passed full of depression and gloom for the young
wife, who spent most of her time in seclusion, whilst the king sought
distraction in the society of his courtiers. The chancellor, after
his second interview with the queen, absented himself from court, not
wishing to be furthermore drawn into a quarrel which he saw himself
powerless to heal. During his absence the king wrote him a letter which
evinced determination to carry out his design. This epistle, preserved
in the library of the British Museum, runs as follows:


"I forgot when you were here last to desire you to give Broderich good
council not to meddle any more with what concerns my Lady Castlemaine,
and to let him have a care how he is the author of any scandalous
reports; for if I find him guilty of any such thing, I will make him
repent it to the last moment of his life.

"And now I am entered on this matter, I think it very necessary to give
you a little good council in it, lest you may think that by making a
farther stir in the business you may divert me from my resolution, which
all the world shall never do; and I wish I may be unhappy in this world
and in the world to come, if I fail in the least degree of what I
have resolved, which is of making my Lady Castlemaine of my wife's
bedchamber. And whosoever I find in any endeavours to hinder this
resolution of mine (except it be only to myself), I will be his enemy
to the last moment of my life. You know how true a friend I have been to
you; if you will oblige me eternally, make this business as easy to me
as you can, of what opinion soever you are of; for I am resolved to
go through with this matter, let what will come on it, which again I
solemnly swear before Almighty God.

"Therefore, if you desire to have the continuance of my friendship,
meddle no more with this business except it be to bear down all false
and scandalous reports, and to facilitate what I am sure my honour is so
much concerned in. And whosoever I find is to be my Lady Castlemaine's
enemy in this matter, I do promise, upon my word, to be his enemy as
long as I live. You may show this letter to my lord lieutenant, and if
you have both a mind to oblige me, carry yourselves like friends to me
in this matter."

The chancellor was, soon after the receipt of this letter, summoned to
Hampton Court, when his majesty, with some passion, declared the
quarrel was spoken of everywhere, and wholly to his disadvantage. He was
therefore anxious to end it at once, and commanded my lord to wait again
upon the queen, and persuade her to his wishes. The chancellor informed
the king he "had much rather spend his pains in endeavouring to convert
his majesty from pursuing his resolution, which he did in his conscience
believe to be unjust, than in persuading her majesty to comply with it,
which yet he would very heartily do." Saying which, he departed on his
errand; to which the queen answered, her conscience would not allow her
to consent that the king's mistress should be one of her attendants.
Then the chancellor besought his royal master, saying he hoped he might
be no more consulted with, nor employed concerning an affair, in which
he had been so unsuccessful.

By reason of this opposition the king was now more resolved than ever to
honour his mistress and humble his wife; and, with a cruelty unusual to
his nature, determined to break her majesty's spirit, and force her into

On coming to England the young bride had brought in her train some
Portuguese gentlewomen and nobles, whom she was anxious to employ in
various offices about her person, that she might not feel quite in the
midst of strangers. These his majesty believed were in some measure
answerable for the queen's resistance to his desires, and therefore
decided on sending them back to their own country; knowing moreover,
this was an act which would sorely grieve her majesty. Therefore,
without first deigning to inform, the Queen of Portugal, he named a day
for them to embark. This was a sad blow to the hopes of the Portuguese,
who had entertained high expectations of being placed in advantageous
circumstances about the court; nor did the king by any show of
liberality help to lessen their disappointment. The queen was indeed
afflicted at the prospect of their loss; and her mortification was
the greater because, having received no money since she came into the
kingdom, it was out of her power to make them compensation for their

The thought of being deprived of her people in her present unhappy
condition rendered her so miserable, that she besought the king to allow
some of them to remain; and, likewise, she employed others to make the
same petition on her behalf. Therefore one of her ladies, the Countess
of Penalva, who had been her attendant since childhood, and who now,
because of weakness of sight and other infirmities, scarce ever left her
apartments, was allowed to stay, as were likewise "those necessary to
her religion," and some servants employed in her kitchen.

But these were not the only means the king took to thwart her majesty
and all connected with her. He upbraided the Portuguese ambassador for
not having instructed the queen "enough to make her unconcerned in
what had been before her time, and in which she could not reasonably be
concerned." Moreover he reproached him with the fact of the queen regent
having sent only half the marriage portion; and so harassed was the
ambassador by royal wrath, that he took to his bed, "and sustained such
a fever as brought him to the brink of the grave." Regarding that part
of the dowry which had arrived, Charles behaved in an equally ungracious
and undignified manner. He instructed the officers of the revenue to
use all strictness in its valuation, and not make any allowances. And
because Diego de Silva--whom the queen had designed for her treasurer,
and who on that account had undertaken to see the money paid in
London--did not make sufficient haste in the settlement of his accounts,
he was by the king's command cast into prison.

These various affronts grievously afflicted her majesty, but the insults
she had to endure before the whole court wounded her far more. For
meanwhile the king lodged his mistress in the royal household, and every
day she was present in the drawing-room, when his majesty entered into
pleasant conversation with her, while his wife sat patiently by, as
wholly unheeded as if unseen. When the queen occasionally rose and
indignantly left the apartment to relieve her anguish by a storm of
tears, it may be one or two of the courtiers followed her, but the vast
number of the brilliant throng remained; and Lord Clarendon adds,
"they, too, often said those things aloud which nobody ought to have

Charles no longer appeared with the grave and troubled expression his
face had worn at the commencement of the quarrel, but seemed full of
pleasantry and eager for enjoyment. Those surrounding him took their
tone from the monarch, and followed his example the more because he "did
shew no countenance to any that belong to the queen." Her majesty, on
the contrary, took her misery to heart, and showed dejection by the
sadness of her face and listlessness of her gait. There was universal
diversion in all company but hers; sounds of laughter rang all day
and far into the night in every apartment of the palace but those
appropriated to her use. Charles steadily avoided her, and the
attendants who replaced her countrywomen showed more deference to the
king's mistress than to his queen. The solitary condition to which the
helpless foreigner and forsaken wife was reduced increased day by
day, her gloom deepened hour by hour, until, worn out by the unequal
conflict, her spirit broke. "At last," says Lord Clarendon, "when it
was least expected or suspected, the queen on a sudden let herself fall,
first to conversation, and then to familiarity, and even, in the same
instant, to a confidence with the lady; was merry with her in public,
talked kindly of her, and in private used no lady more friendly."

From that hour her majesty never interfered with the king's amours,
and never again did a quarrel rise between them even to the day of his


  Their majesties arrive at Whitehall.--My Lady Castlemaine a
  spectator.--Young Mr. Crofts.--New arrivals at court.--The Hamilton
  family.--The Chevalier de Grammont.--Mrs. Middleton and Miss Kirke.--At
  the queen's ball--La belle Hamilton.--The queen mother at Somerset
  House.--The Duke of Monmouth's marriage.--Fair Frances Stuart.--Those
  who court her favour.--The king's passion.

On the 23rd of August, 1662, their majesties journeyed from Hampton
Court to the palace of Whitehall by water. The gay and goodly procession
formed on that occasion has been described as "the most magnificent
triumph that ever floated on, the Thames." First came barges belonging
to city companies, beginning with the mercers and grocers, most of them
being attended with a pageant, and all of them richly adorned as
became their affection and loyalty. Then followed barges of statesmen,
nobility, and courtiers, with their retinues, brave in numbers, gay in
colours, and attended by bands of music. And finally came the king and
queen, seated side by side in a galley of antique shape, all draped
with crimson damask, bearing a canopy of cloth of gold, supported by
Corinthian pillars, wreathed with ribbons, and festooned with garlands
of fragrant flowers.

The whole city was abroad, watchful of their approach; the Thames was
covered with boats to the number of ten thousand; and the banks were
crowded with spectators beyond reckoning. On this fair August day the
sky had not a single cloud to mar its universal blue; the sun shone
gloriously bright, turning the river to sheets of gleaming gold: whilst
the air was filled with roaring of cannon, strains of music, and hearty
shouts of a loyal multitude.

Mr. Samuel Pepys, though he offered as much as eight shillings for a
boat to attend him that day, could not obtain one, and was therefore
obliged to view this gallant procession from the roof of the royal
banqueting hall, which commanded a glorious view of the Thames. But
what pleased his erratic fancy best on this occasion was, not the great
spectacle he had taken such trouble to survey, but a sight of my Lady
Castlemaine, who stood over against him "upon a piece of Whitehall."
The worthy clerk of the Admiralty "glutted" himself with looking on her;
"but methought it was strange," says he, "to see her lord and her upon
the same place walking up and down without taking notice of one another,
only at first entry he put off his hat, and she made him a very civil
salute, but afterwards took no notice of one another; but both of them
now and then would take their child, which the nurse held in her arms,
and dandle it. One thing more: there happened a scaffold below to fall,
and we feared some hurt, but there was none; but she of all the great
ladies only ran down among the common rabble to see what hurt was done,
and did take care of a child that received some little hurt,
which methought was so noble. Anon there came one there booted and
spurred, that she talked long with. And by-and-by, she being in her
haire, she put on her hat, which was but an ordinary one, to keep the
wind off. But methinks it became her mightily, as everything else do."

It was notable the countess did not accompany her majesty in the
procession to Whitehall, as one of her attendants; but in fact she
had not obtained the position sought for, though she enjoyed all the
privileges pertaining to such an appointment. "Everybody takes her to
be of the bedchamber," the lord chancellor writes to the Duke of Ormond,
"for she is always there, and goes abrode in the coach. But the queen
tells me that the king promised her, on condition she would use her as
she doth others, that she should never live in court; yet lodgings I
hear she hath." Lodgings the countess certainly had provided for her in
that block of the palace of Whitehall, separated from the main buildings
by the old roadway running between Westminster and the city.

A few days after their majesties' arrival at Whitehall, the queen mother
returned to town, and established her court at Somerset House, which had
been prepared for her future abode. She had arrived in England before
the king and queen left Hampton Court, and had taken up her residence
at Greenwich Palace. The avowed object of her visit was to congratulate
them upon their marriage. Charles and his bride therefore took barge to
Greenwich, one bright July day, followed by a brilliant and illustrious
train, that they might wait upon her majesty. And she, being made aware
of their approach, met them at the portal of the palace. There Catherine
would have gone down upon her knees to this gracious lady--the survivor
of great sorrows--but she took the young queen in her arms, and calling
her beloved daughter, kissed her many times. Then she greeted her sons
Charles and James, likewise the Duchess of York, and led them to the
presence-chamber, followed by the whole court. And presently when
Catherine would, through her interpreter, have expressed her gratitude
and affection, the elder queen besought her to lay aside all ceremony,
for she "should never have come to England again except for the pleasure
of seeing her, to love her as her daughter, and serve her as her queen."
At these sweet words the young wife, now in the first days of her
grief, was almost overcome by a sense of thankfulness, and could scarce
restrain her tears; but she answered bravely, "Believe me, madam, that
in love and obedience neither the king nor any of your children shall
exceed me."

The court of the merry monarch and that of the queen mother being now
settled in town, a period of vast brilliancy ensued, during which great
festivity and much scandal obtained, by reason of intrigues in which the
king and his friends indulged. Whitehall, the scene of so much gaiety
and gallantry, was a palace by no means befitting the luxurious Charles.
It consisted of a series of irregular houses built for different
purposes at various periods; these contained upwards of two thousand
rooms, most of which were small, and many of which were without doors.
The buildings were intersected by grassy squares, where fountains
played, statues were grouped, and dials shadowed the passing hour. At
hand stood St. James's Park, with its fair meadows and leafy trees;
close by flowed the placid Thames, bearing heavily laden lighters and
innumerable barges. Attached to these dwellings, and forming part of
the palace, stood the great banquet hall, erected from designs by Inigo
Jones for James I. Here audiences to ambassadors, state balls, and
great banquets were held. The ceiling was painted by Rubens, and was,
moreover, handsomely moulded and richly gilt. Above the entrance-door
stood a statue of Charles I., "whose majestic mien delighted the
spectator;" Whilst close by one of the windows were the ineradicable
stains of blood, marking the spot near which he had been beheaded.

Now in the train of the queen mother there had travelled from France
"a most pretty sparke of about fourteen years," whom Mr. Pepys plainly
terms "the king's bastard," but who was known to the court as young
Mr. Crofts. This little gentleman was son of Lucy Walters, "a brown,
beautiful, bold creature," who had the distinction of being first
mistress to the merry monarch. That he was his offspring the king
entertained no doubt, though others did; inasmuch as young Mr. Crofts
grew to resemble, "even to the wart on his face," Colonel Robert Sidney,
whose paramour Lucy Walters had been a brief while before his majesty
began an intrigue with her. Soon after the boy's birth that beautiful
woman abandoned herself to pleasures, in which the king had no
participation. He therefore parted from her; had her son placed under
the guardianship of Lord Crofts, whose name he bore, and educated by the
Peres de l'Oratoire at Paris. The while he was continually at the court
of the queen mother, who regarded him as her grandson, and who, by the
king's command, now brought him into England. The beauty of his face
and grace of his figure could not be exceeded, whilst his manner was
as winning as his air was noble. Moreover, his accomplishments were
numerous; he danced to perfection, sang with sweetness, rode with skill;
and so gallant was his nature that he became at this early age, as
Hamilton affirms, "the universal terror of husbands and lovers."

The king betrayed the greatest affection for him, and took exceeding
pride in being father of such a brave and comely youth, at which my Lady
Castlemaine was both wrathful and jealous, fearing he would avert the
royal favour from her own offspring; but these feelings she afterwards
overcame, as will be duly shown. His majesty speedily showered honours
upon him, allotted him a suite of apartments in the royal palace of
Whitehall, appointed him a retinue befitting the heir apparent, created
him Duke of Orkney and of Monmouth, and installed him a knight of the

But, before this had been accomplished, there arrived in town some
personages whose names it will be necessary to mention here, the figure
they made at court being considerable. These were Sir George Hamilton
and his family, and Philibert, Chevalier de Grammont. Sir George was
fourth son of James, Earl of Abercorn, and of Mary, sister to James,
first Duke of Ormond. Sir George had proved himself a loyal man and
a brave during the late civil war, and had on the murder of his royal
master sought safety in France, from which country he, in the second
year of the restoration, returned, accompanied by a large family; the
women of which were fair, the men fearless. The Hamiltons being close
kin to the Ormond great intimacy existed between them; to facilitate
which they lived not far apart--the duke residing in Ormond Yard, St.
James's Square, and the Hamiltons occupying a spacious residence in King
Street. James Hamilton, Sir George's eldest son, was remarkable for the
symmetry of his figure, elegance of his manner, and costliness of
his dress. Moreover, he possessed a taste shaped to pleasure, and a
disposition inclined to gallantry, which commended him so strongly to
the king's favour, that he was made groom of the bedchamber and colonel
of a regiment.

His brother George was scarcely less handsome in appearance or less
agreeable in manner. Another brother, Anthony, best remembered as the
writer of Grammont's memoirs, was likewise liberally endowed by nature.
Elizabeth, commonly called "la belle Hamilton," shared in the largest
degree the hereditary gifts of grace and beauty pertaining to this
distinguished family. At her introduction to the court of Charles II.
she was in the bloom of youth and zenith of loveliness. The portrait
of her which her brother Anthony has set before the world for its
admiration is delicate in its colours, and finished in its details. "Her
forehead," he writes, "was open, white, and smooth; her hair was well
set, and fell with ease into that natural order which it is so difficult
to imitate. Her complexion was possessed of a certain freshness, not to
be equalled by borrowed colours; her eyes were not large, but they were
lovely, and capable of expressing whatever she pleased; her mouth was
full of graces, and her contour uncommonly perfect; nor was her nose,
which was small, delicate, and turned up, the least ornament of so
lovely a face. She had the finest shape, the loveliest neck, and most
beautiful arms in the world; she was majestic and graceful in all her
movements; and she was the original after which all the ladies copied in
their taste and air of dress."

Now, about the same time the Hamiltons arrived at court, there likewise
appeared at Whitehall one whose fame as a wit, and whose reputation as
a gallant, had preceded him. This was the celebrated Chevalier de
Grammont, whose father was supposed to be son of Henry the Great of
France. The chevalier had been destined by his mother for the church,
the good soul being anxious he should lead the life of a saint; but the
youth was desirous of joining the army, and following the career of a
soldier. Being remarkable for ingenuity, he conceived a plan by which
he might gratify his mother's wishes and satisfy his own desires at the
same time. He therefore accepted the abbacy his brother procured for
him; but on appearing at court to return thanks for his preferment,
comported himself with a military air. Furthermore, his dress was
combined of the habit and bands pertaining to an ecclesiastic, and the
buskins and spurs belonging to a soldier. Such an amalgamation had
never before been witnessed, and caused general attention; the court
was amazed at his daring, but Richelieu was amused by his boldness.
His brother regarded his appearance in the dual character of priest and
soldier as a freak, and on his return home asked him gravely to which
profession he meant to attach himself. The youth answered he was
resolved "to renounce the church for the salvation of his soul," upon
condition that he retained his beneficed abbacy. It may be added, he
kept this resolution.

A soldier he therefore became, and subsequently a courtier. His valour
in war and luck in gambling won him the admiration of the camp; whilst
his ardour in love and genius for intrigue gained him the esteem of
the court, but finally lost him the favour of his king. For attaching
himself to one of the maids of honour, Mademoiselle La Motte
Houdancourt, whom his most Christian Majesty Louis XIV. had already
honoured with his regard, Grammont was banished from the French court.

Accordingly, in the second year of the merry monarch's reign he
presented himself at Whitehall, and was received by Charles with
a graciousness that served to obliterate the memory of his late
misfortune. Nor were the courtiers less warm in their greetings than
his majesty. The men hailed him as an agreeable companion; the ladies
intimated he need not wholly abandon those tender diversions for which
he had shown such natural talent and received such high reputation at
the court of Louis XIV. He therefore promptly attached himself to the
king, whose parties he invariably attended, and whose pleasures he
continually devised; made friends with the most distinguished nobles,
whom he charmed by the grace of his manner and extravagance of
his entertainments; and took early opportunities of proving to the
satisfaction of many of the fairer sex that his character as a gallant
had by no means been exaggerated by report.

Amongst those to whom he paid especial attention were Mrs. Middleton, a
woman of fashion, and Miss Kirk, a maid of honour, to whom Hamilton,
in his memoirs of Grammont, gives the fictitious name of Warmestre.
The former was at this time in her seventeenth summer, and had been two
years a wife. Her exquisitely fair complexion, light auburn hair, and
dark hazel eyes constituted her a remarkably beautiful woman. Miss Kirk
was of a different type of loveliness, inasmuch as her skin was brown,
her eyes dark, and her complexion brilliant. As Mrs. Middleton was at
this time but little known at court, Grammont found some difficulty in
obtaining an introduction to her as promptly as he desired; but feeling
anxious to make her acquaintance, and being no laggard in love, he
without hesitation applied to her porter for admittance, and took one of
her lovers into his confidence. This latter gallant rejoiced in the name
of Jones, and subsequently became Earl of Ranelagh. In the fulness of
his heart towards one who experienced a fellow feeling, he resolved
to aid Grammont in gaining the lady's favours. This generosity being
prompted by the fact that the chevalier would rid him of a rival whom
he feared, and at the same time relieve him of an expense he could
ill afford, the lady having certain notions of magnificence which her
husband's income was unable to sustain.

Mrs. Middleton received the chevalier with good grace; but he found
her more ready to receive the presents he offered, than to grant the
privileges he required. Miss Kirk, on the other hand, was not only
flattered by his attentions, but was willing to use every means in her
power to preserve a continuance of his friendship; Therefore out of
gratitude for graces received from one of the ladies, and in expectation
of favours desired from the other, Grammont made them the handsomest
presents. Perfumed gloves, pocket looking-glasses, apricot paste,
came every week from Paris for their benefit; whilst more substantial
offerings in the shape of jewellery, diamonds, and guineas were procured
for them in London, all of which they made no hesitation to accept.

It happened one night, whilst Grammont was yet in pursuit of Mrs.
Middleton, that the queen gave a ball. In hope of winning her husband's
affection, by studying his pleasures and suiting herself to his ways,
her majesty had become a changed woman. She now professed a passion
for dancing, wore decollete costumes, and strove to surpass those
surrounding her in her desire for gaiety. Accordingly her balls were the
most brilliant spectacles the court had yet witnessed; she taking care
to assemble the fairest women of the day, and the most distinguished
men. Now amongst the latter was the Chevalier de Grammont; and amidst
the former, Mrs. Middleton and Miss Hamilton.

Of all the court beauties, "la belle Hamilton" was one of whom Grammont
had seen least and heard most; but that which had been told him of her
charms seemed, now that he beheld her, wholly inadequate to express
her loveliness. Therefore, his eyes followed her alone, as her graceful
figure glided in the dance adown the ball-room, lighted with a thousand
tapers, and brilliant with every type of beauty. And when presently she
rested, it was with an unusual flutter at his heart that this gallant,
heretofore so daring in love, sought her company, addressed her, and
listened with strange pleasure to the music of her voice. From that
night he courted Mrs. Middleton no more, but devoted himself to "la
belle Hamilton," who subsequently became his wife.

Meanwhile, the merry monarch behaved as if he had no higher purpose in
life than that of following his pleasures. "The king is as decomposed
[dissipated] as ever," the lord chancellor writes to the Duke of Ormond,
in a letter preserved in the Bodleian library, "and looks as little
after his business; which breaks my heart, and makes me and other of
your friends weary of our lives. He seeks for his satisfaction and
delight in other company, which do not love him so well as you and
I do." His days were spent in pursuing love, feasting sumptuously,
interchanging wit, and enjoying all that seemed good to the senses.
Pepys, who never fails to make mention of the court when actual
experience or friendly gossip enables him, throws many pleasant lights
upon the ways of the monarch and his courtiers.

For instance, he tells us that one Lord's day--the same on which this
excellent man had been to Whitehall chapel, and heard a sermon by the
Dean of Ely on returning to the old ways, and, moreover, a most tuneful
anthem sung by Captain Cooke, with symphonies between--whom should he
meet but the great chirurgeon, Mr. Pierce, who carried him to Somerset
House, and into the queen mother's presence-chamber. And there, on the
left hand of Henrietta Maria, sat the young queen, whom Mr. Pepys
had never seen before, and now thought that "though she be not very
charming, yet she hath a good, modest, and innocent look, which is
pleasing." Here, likewise, he saw the king's mistress, and the young
Duke of Monmouth, "who, I perceive," Pepys continues, "do hang much upon
my Lady Castlemaine, and is always with her; and I hear the queenes,
both of them, are mighty kind to him. By-and-by in comes the king, and
anon the duke and his duchesse; so that, they being all together, was
such a sight as I never could almost have happened to see with so much
ease and leisure. They staid till it was dark, and then went away; the
king and his queene, and my Lady Castlemaine and young Crofts, in one
coach, and the rest in other coaches. Here were great stores of great
ladies. The king and queen were very merry; and he would have made the
queene mother believe that the queene was with child, and said that she
said so. And the young queene answered, 'You lye,' which was the first
English word that I ever heard her say, which made the king good sport."

Others besides Mr. Pepys had begun to notice that the young Duke of
Monmouth hung much upon the Countess of Castlemaine, and that her
ladyship lavished caresses upon him. Whether this was to provoke the
uneasiness of his majesty, who she hoped might find employment for
the lad elsewhere, or to express her genuine affection for him, it
is impossible to say. However, the duke being come to an age when the
endearments of such a woman might have undesired effects upon him, the
king resolved to remove him from her influence, and at the same time
secure his fortune by marriage.

He therefore selected a bride for him, in the person of Lady Anne Scott,
a young gentlewoman of virtue and excellence, who was only child of
Francis, Earl of Buccleugh, and the greatest heiress in Great Britain.
Their nuptials were celebrated on the 20th of April, 1663, the
bridegroom at this time not having reached his fifteenth birthday,
whilst the bride was younger by a year. The duke on his marriage assumed
his wife's family name, Scott; and some years later--in 1673--both were
created Duke and Duchess of Buccleugh. From this union the family now
bearing that title has descended. A great supper was given at Whitehall
on the marriage-night, and for many days there were stately festivities
held to celebrate the event with becoming magnificence.

Now at one of the court balls held at this time, the woman of all others
who attracted most attention and gained universal admiration was Frances
Stuart, maid of honour to Queen Catherine. She was only daughter of
a gallant gentleman, one Walter Stuart, and grand-daughter of Lord
Blantyre. Her family had suffered sore loss in the cause of Charles I.,
by reason of which, like many others, it sought refuge in France. This
young gentlewoman was therefore bred in that country, and was, moreover,
attached to the court of the queen mother, in whose suite she travelled
into England. Her beauty was sufficient to attract the attention of
Louis XIV., who, loath to lose so fair an ornament from his court,
requested her mother would permit her to remain, saying, he "loved her
not as a mistress, but as one that would marry as well as any lady in

No doubt Mrs. Stuart understood the motives of his majesty's interested
kindness, of which, however, she declined availing herself, and
therefore departed with her daughter for England. At the time of her
appearance at Whitehall, Frances Stuart was in her fifteenth year. Even
in a court distinguished by the beauty of women, her loveliness was
declared unsurpassed. Her features were regular and refined, her
complexion fair as alabaster, her hair bright and luxuriant, her eyes of
violet hue; moreover, her figure being tall, straight, and shapely,
her movements possessed an air of exquisite grace. An exact idea of
her lineaments may be gained unto this day, from the fact that Philip
Rotier, the medallist, who loved her true, represented her likeness in
the face of Britannia on the reverse of coins; and so faithful was
the likeness, we are assured, that no one who had ever seen her could
mistake who had sat as model of the figure.

Soon after her arrival in England, she was appointed one of the maids of
honour to Queen Catherine, and as such was present at all festivities of
the court. Now, at one of the great balls given in honour of the Duke of
Monmouth's nuptials, the fair Frances Stuart appeared in the full lustre
of her charms. Her beauty, her grace, and her youth completely eclipsed
the more showy gifts of my Lady Castlemaine, who on this occasion looked
pale and thin, she being in the commencement of another pregnancy,
"which the king was pleased to place to his own account." The merry
monarch had before this time been attracted by the fair maid of honour,
but now it was evident his heart had found a new object of admiration
in her surpassing beauty. Henceforth he boldly made love to her. The
countess was not much disturbed by this, for she possessed great faith
in her own charms and implicit belief in her power over the king.
Besides, she had sufficient knowledge of mankind to comprehend that to
offer opposition in pursuit of love is the most certain method to
foster its growth. She therefore resolved to seek Miss Stuart's society,
cultivate her friendship, and constantly bring her into contact with his
majesty. This would not only prove to the satisfaction of the court she
had no fear of losing her sovereignty over the monarch, but, by keeping
him engaged with the maid of honour, would likewise divert his attention
from an intrigue the countess was then carrying on with Henry Jermyn.
Accordingly, she made overtures of friendship to Miss Stuart, invited
her to private parties, and appeared continually with her in public.

Concerning these ladies and the merry monarch, Pepys narrates a strange
story which Captain Ferrers told him as they "walked finely" in the
park. This was, that at an entertainment given by my Lady Castlemaine,
towards the end of which his majesty played at being married with fair
Frances Stuart, "with ring and all other ceremonies of Church service,
and ribbands, and a sack posset [A drink composed of milk, wine, and
spices.] in bed, and flinging the stocking. My Lady Castlemaine looked
on the while, evincing neither anger nor jealousy, but entering into
the diversion with great spirit." Nor was this the only indiscretion of
which she was culpable, for, in the full confidence of her charms, she
frequently kept Miss Stuart to stay with her. "The king," says Hamilton,
"who seldom neglected to visit the countess before she rose, seldom
failed likewise to find Miss Stuart with her. The most indifferent
objects have charms in a new attachment; however, the imprudent countess
was not jealous of this rival's appearing with her, in such a situation,
being confident that, whenever she thought fit, she could triumph over
all the advantages which these opportunities could afford Miss Stuart."

No doubt Lady Castlemaine's imprudences arose from knowledge that Miss
Stuart was devoid of tact, and incapable of turning opportunities to her
own advantage in the king's regard. For though the maid of honour was
richly endowed with beauty, she was wholly devoid of wit. She was not
only a child in years, but likewise in behaviour. She laughed at every
remark made her, delighted in playing blind man's buff, and was never
more happy than when building castles of cards. At this latter amusement
she continually employed herself whilst the deepest play was taking
place in her apartments; being always attended by groups of courtiers,
who were either attracted by the charm of her beauty, or were eager to
make court through her favour. As she sat upon the floor, intent on her
favourite occupation, they on their knees handed her cards, traced out
designs for her, or built elaborate structures rivalling her own.

Amongst those who attended her in this manner was the gay, graceful, and
profligate Duke of Buckingham, who became enamoured of her loveliness.
Not only did he raise the most wonderful of card mansions for her
delight, but having a good voice, and she possessing a passion for
music, he invented songs and sung them to pleasure her. Moreover, he
told her the wittiest stories, turned the courtiers into the greatest
ridicule for her entertainment, and made her acquainted with the most
diverting scandals. Finally, he professed his ardent love for her; but
at this the fair Stuart either felt, or feigned, intense astonishment,
and so repulsed him that he abandoned the pursuit of an amour over which
he had wasted so much time, and thenceforth deprived himself of her

His attentions were, however, soon replaced by those of the Earl of
Arlington, a lord of the bedchamber, and a man of grave address and
great ambition. Owing to this latter trait his lordship was desirous
of winning the good graces of Miss Stuart in the present, in hopes
of governing his majesty in the future, when she became the king's
mistress. But these sage and provident intentions of his were speedily
overturned, for early in the course of their acquaintance, when he had
commenced to tell her a story, his manner so forcibly reminded her of
Buckingham's mimicry of him, that she burst out laughing in the earl's
face. This being utterly uncalled for by the circumstances of his tale,
and still less by the manner of its narration, Lord Arlington, who
was serious, punctilious, and proud, became enraged, abruptly left her
presence, and abandoned his schemes of governing the king through so
frivolous a medium.

A man who had better chances of success in winning this beautiful girl
was George Hamilton, whose name has been already mentioned. It was not,
however, his graceful person, or elegant manner, but his performance of
a trick which gained her attention. It happened one night that an Irish
peer, old Lord Carlingford, was diverting her by showing how she might
hold a burning candle in her mouth a considerable time without its
being extinguished. This was a source of uncommon delight to her;
seeing which, George Hamilton thought he would give her still further
entertainment. For being furnished by nature with a wide mouth, he
placed within it two lighted candles, and walked three times round the
room without extinguishing them, whilst the fair Stuart clapped her
pretty hands in delight, and shouted aloud with laughter.

A man who could accomplish such a feat was worthy of becoming a
favourite. She at once admitted him to terms of familiarity; and he had
a hundred chances of paying her the attentions he greatly desired, and
which she freely accepted. Grammont, foreseeing that Hamilton would
incur the royal displeasure if his love for Miss Stuart became known to
the king, besought him to abandon his addresses; but this advice did not
at first sound pleasant to the lover's ears. "Since the court has been
in the country," said he, "I have had a hundred opportunities of seeing
her, which I had not before. You know that the dishabille of the bath is
a great convenience for those ladies, who, strictly adhering to all
the rules of decorum, are yet desirous to display all their charms and
attractions. Miss Stuart is so fully acquainted with the advantages she
possesses over all other women, that it is hardly possible to praise
any lady at court for a well-turned arm, and a fine leg but she is ever
ready to dispute the point by demonstration; and I really believe that,
with a little address, it would not be difficult to induce her to strip
naked, without ever reflecting upon what she was doing. After all, a man
must be very insensible to remain unconcerned and unmoved on such happy

Hamilton was therefore not willing to renounce Miss Stuart, but upon
Grammont showing that attentions paid the lady would certainly provoke
the king's anger, he resolved on sacrificing love to interest, and
abandoning the company of the fair maid of honour for evermore. The
truth was, his majesty loved her exceedingly, as was indeed evident, for
he constantly sought her presence, talked to her at the drawing-rooms
as if no one else were by, and kissed her "to the observation of all the
world." But though she allowed Charles such liberties, she refused to
become his mistress, notwithstanding the splendid settlements and high
titles with which the monarch engaged to reward the sacrifice of her
virtue. And so, though a king, it was not given him to be obeyed in all.
And though generally loved for his easy ways and gracious manners, he
was continually harassed by his mistresses, reproved by his chancellor,
and ridiculed by his courtiers. Indeed, they now spoke of him in his
absence as "Old Rowley;" the reason of which is given by Richardson.
"There was an old goat," writes he, "in the privy garden, that they had
given this name to; a rank lecherous devil, that everybody knew and
used to stroke, because he was good-humoured and familiar; and so they
applied this name to the king."


  The Duke of York's intrigues.--My Lady Chesterfield and his royal
  highness--The story of Lady Southesk's love.--Lord Arran plays the
  guitar.--Lord Chesterfield is jealous.--The countess is taken from
  court.--Mistress Margaret Brooke and the king.--Lady Denham and the
  duke.--Sir John goes mad.--My lady is poisoned.

The while his majesty devoted himself to pleasure and intrigue,
neglectful of affairs of state, and heedless of public scandal, his
brother of York, whose disposition was not less amorous, likewise
followed the bent of his inclinations. Soon after her appearance
at court he professed himself in love with the beautiful Elizabeth
Hamilton, whom to behold was to admire. But the duke being a married
man, and she a virtuous woman, he dared not address her on the subject
of his affection, and was therefore obliged to confine the expression
of his feelings to glances. These she refused to interpret; and he,
becoming weary of a pursuit which promised no happy results, turned his
attentions to the Countess of Chesterfield, who seemed in no way loath
to receive them.

This charming woman had married my Lord Chesterfield in compliance with
a family arrangement; and discovered too soon she had no place in
the heart of him whose life she shared. His coldness to her was only
equalled by his ardour for Lady Castlemaine, whose lover he continued to
remain after his marriage. The affection his wife had offered and he
had repulsed, in the dawn of their wedded life, changed by degrees to
disdain and hatred.

Now as chamberlain to the queen my Lord Chesterfield had, apartments in
the palace, by reason of which the countess became an habituee of
the court. The moral atmosphere of Whitehall was not calculated to
strengthen her conjugal virtue, but its perpetual gaiety was destined to
dissipate her sense of neglect. It was not possible for a woman endowed
with so much beauty, and possessed of such engaging manners, to be
disregarded, in a court entirely devoted to love and gallantry; and
accordingly she soon became an object of general admiration. This was by
no means pleasing to my Lord Chesterfield, who, though he had wilfully
repulsed her affections, was selfishly opposed to their bestowal upon
others. Accordingly he became watchful of her conduct, and jealous of
her admirers.

Prominent amongst these were James Hamilton and the Duke of York. The
former was her cousin, and her husband's confidant, in consequence of
which my lord failed to associate him with the suspicion he entertained
towards all other men who approached her: the latter he regarded with
the uttermost distrust. His royal highness had before now disturbed the
happy confidence which husbands had placed in their wives, as my Lord
Carnegy could testify.

The story which hangs thereby had, a little while before the duke fell
in love with Lady Chesterfield, afforded vast amusement to the court,
and was yet fresh in the recollection of many. It happened that his
royal highness became enamoured of my Lady Carnegy, daughter of the
gallant Duke of Hamilton, and friend of the gay Lady Castlemaine. Lady
Carnegy loved pleasure mightily, painted her face "devilishly," and
drove in the park flauntingly. She was endowed with considerable beauty
of form and great tenderness of heart, as many gallants acknowledged
with gratitude. Now when the Duke of York made advances to her, she
received them with all the satisfaction he could desire; an intimacy
therefore followed, which she was the better able to entertain on
account of her husband's absence in Scotland. Whilst my Lord Carnegy
was in that country, his father, the Earl of Southesk, died, and he
succeeded to the title and estates. In due time the new earl returned to
London and his wife, and was greeted by rumours of the friendship which
in his absence had sprung up between my lady and the duke. These, as
became a good husband, he refused to believe, until such time as he was
enabled to prove their veracity. Now, though his royal highness did not
cease to honour my lady with his visits on her husband's return, yet out
of respect to decorum, and in order to silence scandalous tongues, he
from that time invariably called on her accompanied by a friend.

It therefore came to pass that one day he requested an honest, foolish
Irishman, Dick Talbot, afterwards Duke of Tyrconnel, to attend him
in his visit to the lady. He could scarcely have selected a man more
unfitted to the occasion, inasmuch as Talbot was wholly devoid of tact,
and possessed a mind apt to wander at large at critical moments. He had
but recently returned from Portugal, and was not aware my Lord Carnegy
had in the meantime become Earl of Southesk, nor had he ever met the
lady who shared that title until introduced to her by the duke. When
that ceremony had been duly performed and a few sentences interchanged
between them, Talbot, acting on instructions previously received,
retired into an ante-room and took his post at a window that he might
divert himself by viewing the street, and observing those who approached
the house.

Here he remained for some time, but the study of mankind which the view
admitted did not afford sufficient interest to prevent him becoming
absorbed in his own thoughts, and indifferent to all objects surrounding
him. From this mental condition he was presently aroused by seeing a
carriage draw up to the door, and its occupant descend and quickly enter
the house. Talbot was so forgetful of his duty that he omitted apprising
the duke of this fact or making any movement until the door of the
ante-room opened, when he turned round to face the intruder. Then he
started forward and cried out, "Welcome, Carnegy!" for it was no other
than he. "Welcome my good fellow! Where the devil have you been, that I
have never been able to set eyes on you since we were at Brussels! What
business brought you here?" he continued in the same breath; and then
added in a tone of banter, "Do you likewise wish to see Lady Southesk;
if this is your intention, my poor friend, you may go away again; for
I must inform you the Duke of York is in love with her, and I will tell
you in confidence that at this very time he is in her chamber."

My Lord Southesk was overwhelmed with shame and confusion, and not
knowing how to act, immediately returned to his coach, Talbot attending
him to the door as his friend, and advising him to seek a mistress
elsewhere. He then went back to his post, and with some impatience
awaited the Duke's return, that he might tell him what had happened. And
in due time, when he had narrated the story, he was much surprised that
neither his royal highness nor the countess saw any humour in the fact
of Lord Carnegy's discomfiture. It served, however, to make the duke
break off his connection with the lady, and likewise to amuse the town.

Remembering this incident, my Lord Chesterfield kept a watchful eye upon
the duke, who he observed made advances towards the countess, which
she, in her generosity, had not the heart to repulse. But, as his royal
highness could see her only in presence of the court, my lord derived
some satisfaction from knowing he was witness to such civilities as had
yet passed between them. The duke was, however, anxious to have a more
particular occasion of conversing with my lady, and in accomplishing
this desire her brother Lord Arran was willing to aid him.

It happened about this time an Italian, named Francisco Corbeta, who
played with great perfection on the guitar, arrived at court. His
performances excited the wonder and delight of all who heard him, and
the instrument which produced such melody speedily became fashionable
at court, to such an extent, that a universal strumming was heard by
day and by night: throughout the palace of Whitehall. The Duke of York,
being devoted to music, was amongst those who strove to rival Signor
Francisco's performance; whilst my Lord Arran, by the delicacy of his
execution, almost equalled the great musician. The while Francisco's
popularity increased, his fame reaching its zenith when he composed a
saraband, to learn which became the ambition of all delighting in the

Now one day the duke, not thinking himself perfect in this piece,
requested Lord Arran to play it over for him. My lord being a courteous
man, was anxious to oblige his royal highness, and in order that
the saraband might be heard to greatest advantage, was desirous
of performing it upon the best instrument at court, which it was
unhesitatingly acknowledged belonged to my Lady Chesterfield.
Accordingly, Lord Arran led the duke to his sister's apartments. Here
they found not only the guitar and my lady, but likewise my lord, who
was no less astonished than disturbed by their visit. Then my Lord Arran
commenced the famous saraband, whilst the duke commenced to ogle my
lady, and she to return his glances in kind, as if both were unconscious
of her husband's presence. So delightful did they find the saraband,
that Lord Arran was obliged to repeat it at least twenty times, to the
great mortification of the earl, who could scarcely contain his
violent rage and jealousy. His torture was presently increased to an
immeasurable degree, by a summons he received from the queen to attend
her in his capacity of lord chamberlain, during an audience she was
about, to give the Muscovite ambassador.

He had from the first suspected the visit, with which he was honoured,
to have been preconcerted by his wife and the duke; and he now began to
think her majesty was likewise connected with a plot destined to rob him
of his peace and blight his honour. However, he was obliged to obey the
queen's summons and depart. Nor had he been many minutes absent when
Lord Arran entered the presence-chamber where the audience was being
held, unaccompanied by the duke, at which Lord Chesterfield's jealous
fears were strengthened a thousandfold. Before night came he was
satisfied he held sufficient proof of his wife's infidelity.

This conviction caused him intense anxiety and pain; he walked about his
apartments abstracted and brooding on the wrongs from which he suffered;
avoided all who came in his way; and maintained strict silence as
to that which disturbed his peace, until next day, when he met James
Hamilton. To him he confided an account of the troubles which beset him.
After speaking of the visit paid by his royal highness, and the part
enacted by my Lord Arran, whom he described as "one of the silliest
creatures in England, with his guitar, and his other whims and follies,"
he went on to say that when Hamilton had heard him out, he would be
enabled to judge whether the visit ended in perfect innocence or not.
"Lady Chesterfield is amiable, it must be acknowledged," said he, "but
she is far from being such a miracle of beauty as she supposes herself:
you know she has ugly feet; but perhaps you are not acquainted that
she has still worse legs. They are short and thick, and to remedy these
defects as much as possible, she seldom wears any other than green
stockings. I went yesterday to Miss Stuart's after the audience of those
damned Muscovites: the king arrived there just before me; and as if the
duke had sworn to pursue me wherever I went that day, he came in just
after me. The conversation turned upon the extraordinary appearance of
the ambassadors. I know not where that fool Crofts had heard that
all these Muscovites had handsome wives; and that all their wives had
handsome legs. Upon this the king maintained, that no woman ever had
such handsome legs as Miss Stuart; and she to prove the truth of his
majesty's assertion, with the greatest imaginable ease, immediately
showed her leg above the knee. Some were ready to prostrate themselves
in order to adore its beauty, for indeed none can be handsomer; but
the duke alone began to criticize upon it. He contended that it was too
slender, and that as for himself he would give nothing for a leg that
was not thicker and shorter, and concluded by saying that no leg was
worth anything without green stockings; now this in my opinion was a
sufficient demonstration that he had just seen green stockings, and had
them fresh in his remembrance."

At hearing this story, Hamilton, being deeply in love with Lady
Chesterfield, was scarcely less agitated or less jealous than her lord;
but he was obliged to conceal his feelings. Therefore, assuming the tone
of an impartial hearer, he shrugged his shoulders, declared appearances
were often deceitful, and maintained that even if she had given herself
airs to encourage the duke, there were no grounds to show she had been
culpable of improprieties. My lord expressed himself much obliged to
his friend for the interest he had shown in his troubles, and after
exchanging a few compliments they parted. Hamilton, full of wrath,
returned home, and wrote a letter replete with violent expostulations
and tender reproaches to the woman he loved. This he delivered to her
secretly at the next opportunity. She received it from him with a
smile, which scared all doubts of her frailty from his mind, and with a
pressure of his hand which awoke the tenderest feelings in his heart.

He was now convinced her husband had allowed jealousy to blind him, and
had magnified his unworthy suspicions to assurances of guilt. Is this
view Hamilton was fully confirmed by a letter he received from her the
following day in answer to his own. "Are you not," said she, "ashamed to
give any credit to the visions of a jealous fellow, who brought nothing
else with him from Italy? Is it possible that the story of the green
stockings, upon which he has founded his suspicions, should have imposed
upon you, accompanied as it is with such pitiful circumstances? Since he
has made you his confidant, why did not he boast of breaking in pieces
my poor harmless guitar? This exploit, perhaps, might have convinced
you more than all the rest; recollect yourself, and if you are really in
love with me, thank fortune for a groundless jealousy, which diverts to
another quarter the attention he might pay to my attachment for the most
amiable and the most dangerous man at court."

Anointed by this flattering unction, such wounds as Hamilton had
experienced were quickly healed; alas, only to bleed afresh at the
certain knowledge that this charming woman had been making him her dupe!
For soon after, in a moment of indiscretion, and whilst the whole court,
including her majesty, was assembled in the card-room, my lady there
permitted the duke a liberty which confirmed her husband in his
suspicions of their intimacy. Hamilton at hearing this was wild
with fury, and advised Lord Chesterfield to carry her away from
the allurements of the court, and seclude her in one of his country
mansions. This was an advice to which the earl listened with
complaisance, and carried out with despatch, to her intense

The whole court was amused by the story, but dismayed at the punishment
my lord inflicted upon his lady. Anthony Hamilton declares that in
England "they looked with astonishment upon a man who could be so
uncivil as to be jealous of his wife; and in the city of London it was
a prodigy, till that time unknown, to see a husband have recourse
to violent means to prevent what jealousy fears, and what it always
deserves." He adds, they endeavoured to excuse my lord by laying all the
blame on his bad education, which made "all the mothers vow to God that
none of their sons should ever set a foot in Italy, lest they should
bring back with them that infamous custom of laying restraint upon their

By the departure of Lady Chesterfield the court lost one of its most
brilliant ornaments forever, for the unhappy countess never again
returned to the gay scene of her adventures. For three long years
she endured banishment at Bretby in Derbyshire, and then died, it was
believed, from the effects of poison. For my lord, never having his
suspicions of her intrigue cleared, insisted on her taking the sacrament
by way of pledging her innocence; on which occasion he, in league with
his chaplain, mixed poison in the sacred wine, as result of which she
died. This shocking story gained credence not only with the public, but
with members of his own family; inasmuch as his daughter-in-law, Lady
Gertrude Stanhope, after she had quarrelled with him, would, when she
sat at his table, drink only of such wine and water as a trusty servant
of hers procured.

This intrigue of the duke had given much uneasiness to his duchess, who
had complained to the king and to her father, and had, moreover, set a
watch upon the movements of his royal highness. But such measures
did not avail to make him a faithful husband, and no sooner was Lady
Chesterfield removed from his sight, than Lady Denham took her place
in his affections. This latter mentioned gentlewoman was daughter of a
valiant baronet, Sir William Brooke, and niece to a worthless peer,
the Earl of Bristol. The earl had, on the king's restoration, cherished
ambitious schemes to obtain the merry monarch's favour; for which
purpose he sought to commend himself by ministering to the royal

Accordingly he entertained the king as became a loyal gentleman, giving
him luxurious banquets and agreeable suppers, to which, by way of
adding to his majesty's greater satisfaction, the noble host invited
his nieces, Mistress Brooke and her sister. The wily earl had, indeed,
conceived a plan the better to forward his interests with the king, and
was desirous one of these gentlewomen should subdue his majesty's heart,
and become his mistress. Margaret Brooke, the elder of the maidens, was
at this time in her eighteenth year, and was in the full flower of such
loveliness as was presented by a fair complexion, light brown hair, and
dark grey eyes. The merry monarch's susceptible heart was soon won
by her beauty; the charming lady's amorous disposition was speedily
conquered by his gallantry, and nothing prevented her becoming his
mistress save Lady Castlemaine's jealousy.

This, however, proved an insurmountable obstacle; for the countess,
hearing rumours of the pleasures which were enjoyed at my Lord Bristol's
table, insisted on attending the king thither, and soon gave his
gracious majesty an intimation he dared not disregard--that she would
not suffer Miss Brooke as a rival. Margaret Brooke was grievously
disappointed; but the Duke of York beginning his attentions at the point
where his majesty discontinued them, she was soon consoled for loss of
the monarch's affection by the ardour of his brother's love. But a short
time after, probably foreseeing the ambiguous position in which she
stood, she forsook her lover, and accepted a husband in the person of
Sir John Denham.

This worthy knight was a man of parts; inasmuch as he was a soldier,
a poet, and a gamester. At the time of his marriage he had passed his
fiftieth year; moreover, he limped painfully and carried a crutch. His
appearance, indeed, was far from imposing. According to Aubrey, he was
tall, had long legs, and was "incurvelting at his shoulders; his hair
was but thin and flaxen, with a moist curl; his gait slow and rather
astalking; his eye was a kind of light goose-grey, not big, but it had a
strange piercingness, not as to shining and glory, but when he conversed
he looked into your very thoughts." His personal defects, however, were
to a great degree compensated for by his great wealth. Moreover he was
surveyor-general of his majesty's works, had a town house in Scotland
Yard, and a country residence at Waltham Cross in Essex. But there are
some deficiencies for which wealth does not atone, as no doubt Lady
Denham promptly discovered; for, before a year of her married life had
passed, she renewed her intrigue with the Duke of York. His love for her
seemed to have increased a thousandfold since fate had given her to
the possession of another. At royal drawing-rooms he took her aside and
talked to her "in the sight of all the world," and whenever she moved
away from him he followed her like a dog.

Indeed, he made no effort to screen his passion, for not only did
he make love to her in presence of the court, but he visited her at
noonday, attended by his gentlemen, before all the town. Nor did Lady
Denham desire to conceal the honour with which, she considered, this
amour covered her, but openly declared she would "not be his mistress,
as Mrs. Price, to go up and down the privy stairs, but will be owned
publicly;" and in this respect she obtained her desire. Meanwhile Sir
John was rendered miserable; and, indeed, his desperation soon overthrew
his reason, and rendered him a lunatic. This affection first appeared
during a journey he made to the famous free-stone quarries near Portland
in Dorset. When he came within a mile of his destination, he suddenly
turned back, and proceeded to Hounslow, where he demanded rents for
lands he had disposed of years before; and then hastening to town sought
out the king and informed him he was the Holy Ghost.

This madness lasted but a short time; and the first use he made of his
recovered senses was to plot vengeance on his wife. Now there was one
honour which she coveted above all others, that of being appointed a
lady of the bedchamber to the Duchess of York. This her royal lover,
following the example of his majesty, sought to obtain for her; but
the duchess, who had already suffered many indignities by reason of her
husband's improprieties, refused him this request, which would render
her liable to continual insult in her own court. The duke, however,
had a strong will, and the duchess was on the point of yielding to his
demand, when rumour announced that Lady Denham had been taken suddenly
ill, and scandal declared she had been poisoned. The wildest sensation
followed. His royal highness, stricken with remorse and terror, hastened
to Scotland Yard and sought his beloved mistress, who told him she
believed herself poisoned, and felt she was now dying. The most eminent
physicians were speedily summoned, but their skill proved of no avail,
for she gradually became worse, and finally died, leaving instructions
that her body should be opened after death, in order that search might
be made for the fatal drug.

The surgeons followed these directions, as we learn from the Orrery
state papers, but no trace of poison was discovered. For all that the
public had no doubt her husband had destroyed her life, and Hamilton
tells us the populace "had a design of tearing Sir John in pieces as
soon as he should come abroad; but he shut himself up to bewail her
death, until their fury was appeased by a magnificent funeral, at which
he distributed four times more burnt wine than had ever been drunk at
any burial in England."

As for the duke, he was sorely troubled for her loss, and declared he
should never have a public mistress again.


  Court life under the merry monarch.--Riding in Hyde Park.--Sailing on
  the Thames.--Ball at Whitehall.--Petit soupers.--What happened at
  Lady Gerrard's.--Lady Castlemaine quarrels with the king.--Flight to
  Richmond.--The queen falls ill.--The king's grief and remorse.--Her
  majesty speaks.--Her secret sorrow finds voice in delirium.--Frances
  Stuart has hopes.--The queen recovers.

Views of court life during the first years of the merry monarch's
reign, obtainable from works of his contemporaries, present a series of
brilliant, changeful, and interesting pictures. Scarce a day passed
that their majesties, attended by a goodly throng of courtiers, went
not abroad, to the vast delight of the town: and rarely a night sped by
unmarked by some magnificent entertainment, to the great satisfaction of
the court. At noon it was a custom of the king and queen, surrounded by
maids of honour and gentlemen in waiting, the whole forming a gladsome
and gallant crowd, to ride in coaches or on horseback in Hyde Park:
which place has been described as "a field near the town, used by the
king and nobility for the freshness of the air, and goodly prospect."

Here in a railed-off circle, known as the ring, and situated in the
northern half of the park, the whole world of fashion and beauty
diverted itself. Noble gallants wearing broad-brimmed hats and waving
plumes, doublets of velvet, and ruffles of rich lace; and fair women
with flowing locks and dainty patches, attired in satin gowns, and
cloaks wrought with embroidery, drove round and round, exchanging
salutations and smiles as they passed. Here it was good Mr. Pepys saw
the Countess of Castlemaine, among many fine ladies, lying "impudently
upon her back in her coach asleep, with her mouth wide open." And on
another occasion the same ingenious gentleman observed the king and
my lady pass and repass in their respective coaches, they greeting one
another at every turn.

But Mr. Pepys gives us another picture, in which he shows us the king
riding right gallantly beside his queen, and therefore presents him to
better advantage. This excellent gossip, sauntering down Pall Mall one
bright summer day, it being the middle of July, in the year 1663, met
the queen mother walking there, led by her supposed husband, the Earl of
St. Albans. And, hearing the king and queen rode abroad with the ladies
of honour to the park, and seeing a great crowd of gallants awaiting
their return, he also stayed, walking up and down the while.
"By-and-by," says he, "the king and queene, who looked in this dress
(a white laced waistcoate and a crimson short pettycoate, and her hair
dressed A LA NEGLIGENCE) mighty pretty; and the king rode hand in hand
with her. Here was also my Lady Castlemaine riding amongst the rest of
the ladies; but the king took, methought, no notice of her; nor when
they light did anybody press (as she seemed to expect, and staid for it)
to take her down, but was taken down by her own gentlemen. She looked
mighty out of humour, and had a yellow plume in her hat (which all took
notice of), and yet is very handsome. I followed them up into Whitehall,
and into the queene's presence, where all the ladies walked, talking
and fiddling with their hats and feathers, and changing and trying one
another's by one another's heads, and laughing. But it was the finest
sight to me, considering their great beautys and dress, that ever I did
see in my life. But, above all, Mrs. Stuart in this dresse with her
hat cocked and a red plume, with her sweet eye, little Roman nose, and
excellent taille, is now the greatest beauty I ever saw, I think, in my
life; and, if ever woman can, do exceed my Lady Castlemaine, at least in
this dresse: nor do I wonder if the king changes, which I verily believe
is the reason of his coldness to my Lady Castlemaine."

Having returned from the park, dined at noon, walked in the palace
gardens, or played cards till evening came, their majesties, surrounded
by a brilliant and joyous court, would in summer time descend the broad
steps leading from Whitehall to the Thames, and embark upon the water
for greater diversion. Never was there so goodly a sight, seldom so
merry a company. The barges in which they sailed were draped to the
water's edge with bright fabrics, hung with curtains of rich silk, and
further adorned with gay pennants. And, as the long procession of boats,
filled with fair women and gallant men, followed their majesties adown
the placid Thames towards pleasant Richmond, my Lord Arran would delight
the ears of all by his performance on the guitar; the fair Stuart would
sing French songs in her sweet childlike voice; or a concert of music
would suddenly resound from the banks, being placed there to surprise by
some ingenious courtier.

And presently landing on grassy meads, delightful to sight by freshness
of their colour, and sweet to scent from odour of their herbs, the court
would sup right heartily; laugh, drink, and make love most merrily,
until early shadows stole across the summer sky, and night-dews fell
upon the thirsty earth. Then king, queen, and courtiers once more
embarking, would sail slowly back, whilst the moon rose betimes in the
heavens, and the barges streaked the waters with silver lines.

At other times magnificent entertainments filled the nights with light
and revelry. Pepys tells us of a great ball he witnessed in the last
month of the year 1662 at the palace of Whitehall. He was carried
thither by Mr. Povy, a member of the Tangier Commission, and taken at
first to the Duke of York's chambers, where his royal highness and the
duchess were at supper; and from thence "into a room where the ball was
to be, crammed with fine ladies, the greatest of the court. By-and-by
comes the king and queene, the duke and duchess, and all the great ones;
and, after seating themselves, the king takes out the Duchess of York;
and the duke the Duchess of Buckingham; the Duke of Monmouth my Lady
Castlemaine; and so other lords other ladies; and they danced the
bransle. After that, the king led a lady a single coranto; and then the
rest of the lords, one after another, other ladies: very noble it was,
and great pleasure to see. Then to country dances: the king leading the
first. Of the ladies that danced, the Duke of Monmouth's lady, and my
Lady Castlemaine, and a daughter of Sir Harry de Vicke's were the best.
The manner was, when the king dances, all the ladies in the room, and
his queene herself, stand up: and indeed he dances rarely, and much
better than the Duke of York."

PETIT SOUPERS were another form of entertainments, greatly enjoyed by
Charles, and accordingly much in vogue with his courtiers. The Chevalier
de Grammont had principally helped to make them fashionable, his suppers
being served With the greatest elegance, attended by the choicest wits,
and occasionally favoured with the presence of majesty itself. Nor
were Lady Gerrard's PETIT SOUPERS less brilliant, or her company less
distinguished. Her ladyship boasted of French parentage and understood
the art of pleasing to perfection; and accordingly at her board wine
flowed, wit sparkled, and love obtained in the happiest manner. Now it
happened one of her delightful entertainments was destined to gain
a notoriety she by no means coveted, and concerning which the French
ambassador, Count de Comminges, wrote pleasantly enough to the Marquis
de Lionne.

It came to pass that Lady Gerrard, who loved the queen, requested the
honour of their majesties to sup with her. She, moreover, invited some
of the courtiers, amongst whom she did not include my Lady Castlemaine.
On the appointed night the king and queen duly arrived; the other guests
had already assembled; and the hour gave fair promise of entertainment.
But presently, when supper was announced, his majesty was missing,
and on inquiry it was discovered he had left the house for Lady
Castlemaine's lodgings, where he spent the evening. Such an insult
as this so openly dealt the queen, and such an indignity put upon the
hostess, caused the greatest agitation to all present; and subsequently
afforded subject for scandalous gossip to the town. It moreover showed
that the monarch was yet an abject slave of his mistress, whose charms
entangled him irresistibly. At least four times a week he supped with
her, returning at early morning from her lodgings, in a stealthy way,
through the privy gardens, a proceeding of which the sentries took much
notice, joked unbecomingly, and gossiped freely.

Now in order to avoid further observation at such times, and silence
rumours which consequently obtained, his majesty removed the countess
from her lodgings in that part of the palace divided by the road leading
to Westminster from the chief block, and furnished her with apartments
next his own chamber. The poor queen, who had sought by every means in
her power to win his affection, was sorely grieved at this action,
and moreover depressed by the neglect to which she was continually
subjected. Sometimes four months were allowed to pass without his
deigning to sup with her, though the whole court was aware he constantly
paid that honour to her infamous rival. But knowing how unavailing
reproach would be, she held her peace; and feeling how obtrusive her
sorrow would seem, she hid her tears. Now and again, however, a look
would flash in her eyes, and an answer rise to her lips, which showed
how deeply she felt her bitter wrongs. "I wonder your majesty has the
patience to sit so long adressing," said my Lady Castlemaine to her one
morning when she found her yet in the dresser's hands. "I have so much
reason to use patience," answered the neglected wife, "that I can very
well bear with it."

And so the countess continued to reign paramount in his majesty's favour
until the middle of July, 1663, when a rumour spread through the town
that she had quarrelled with the king, and had consequently fallen from
her high estate. The cause of disagreement between the monarch and his
mistress is narrated by the French ambassador in a letter to Louis XIV.

By this time the fair Stuart had so increased in his majesty's favour,
that my Lady Castlemaine began to see the indiscretion of which she
had been guilty in bringing her so constantly into his presence, and
moreover to fear her influence over his fickle heart. Accordingly she
refused to invite the maid of honour to her apartments, or entertain
her at her assemblies. At this the king became exceedingly wrathful, and
told my lady he would not enter her rooms again unless Miss Stuart
was there. Thereon the charming countess flew into a violent passion,
roundly abused his majesty, called her carriage, and protesting she
would never again enter the palace of Whitehall, drove off in a rage to
the residence of her uncle at Richmond. The monarch had not expected
his words would cause such fury, nor did he desire her departure; and no
sooner had she gone than he began to regret her absence and long for her

Therefore next morning he made pretence of hunting, and turning his
horse's head in the direction of Richmond, called on his mistress, when
he apologized to and made friends with her. She therefore returned and
exercised her old ascendancy over him once more. It is probable his
majesty was the more anxious to pacify her, from the fact that she was
now far advanced in her third pregnancy; for two months later she
gave birth to her second son, who was baptized Henry Fitzroy, and
subsequently created Duke of Grafton.

And it happened about this time, that the queen, falling ill, drew near
unto death. On Friday, the 14th October, 1663, a fever took possession
of her, when the doctors were summoned, her head shaven, and pigeons put
to her feet. Her illness, however, rapidly increased, and believing she
was about to leave a world in which her young life had known so much
sorrow, she made her will, put her affairs in order, and received
extreme unction. Upon this the king, mindful of grievous injuries he had
done her, was sorely troubled in his heart, and going to her chamber,
flung himself at the foot of her bed and burst into tears; as the French
ambassador narrates.

It is said women love best men who treat them worst. If this be so,
God, alone who made them knows wherefore; for it is given no man to
understand them in all. Now her majesty proved no exception to this rule
regarding the unreasonableness of her sex in placing their affections
most on those who regard them least; for she was devoted to the king.
Therefore the evidence of his grief at prospect of her loss touched her
deeper than all words can say, and with much sweetness she sought to
soothe and console him.

She told him she had no desire to live, and no sorrow to die, save,
indeed, that caused by parting from him. She hoped he would soon wed
a consort more worthy of his love than she had been; one who would
contribute more to his happiness and the satisfaction of the nation than
she had. And now they were about to part, she had two requests to make:
that he would never separate his interests from those of the king her
brother, or cease to protect her distressed nation; and that her body
might be sent back to Portugal and laid in the tomb of her ancestors. At
this the king, yet on his knees beside her, interrupted her only by his
sobs, hearing which she wept likewise; and so overcome was he by grief
that he was obliged to be led from her room.

The court was saddened by her majesty's illness, for she had won the
goodwill of all by the kindness of her disposition and gentleness of her
manner; the city was likewise afflicted, for the people thought so good
a queen could not fail in time to reclaim even so erratic a husband;
and trade became suddenly depressed. Crowds gathered by night and by
day outside the palace to learn the most recent change in her majesty's
condition many thinking her death inevitable, because the doctors
had pronounced her recovery impossible. And for days her soul hovered
betwixt two worlds.

On the night of the 19th, a fierce storm raged over England; and Mr.
Pepys, being waked by the roaring of mighty winds, turned to his wife
and said: "I pray God I hear not of the death of any great person, this
wind is so high." And fearing the queen might have departed, he rose
betimes, and took coach to the palace that he might make inquiries
concerning her, but found her majesty was still living. She was now,
however, unconscious; and gave free voice to the secret sorrow which
underlay her life, because she had not borne children to the king. Had
she given him heirs, she felt assured he would certainly love her
as well as he loved his mistresses; and would feel as proud of her
offspring as of those borne him by other women. But though she had
proved capable of becoming a mother on more than one occasion, it
pleased heaven to leave her childless, to her great grief. Therefore in
her delirium, desires shaped themselves to realities, and she believed
she had given birth to three children, two boys and a girl. The latter
she fancied much resembled the king, but she was troubled that one of
the boys was plain featured. And seeing her grief at this, his majesty,
who stood by, sought in pity to console her, saying the boy was indeed
pretty; at which she brightened visibly, and answering him said: "Nay,
if it be like you, it is a fine boy indeed, and I would be very well
pleased with it." This delusion continued through her illness, and so
strongly did it force itself upon her mind, that one morning when she
was on her way to recovery, on waking suddenly and seeing the doctor
bending over her, she exclaimed, "How do the children?"

Now all this time, whilst the shadow of death lay upon the palace, and
laughter and music were no longer heard within its walls, there was one
of its inmates who pondered much upon the great fortune which the future
might have in keeping for her. This was fair Frances Stuart, who, not
having yielded to the king's request by becoming his mistress, now
entertained high hopes of being made his wife. In this dream she was,
moreover, flattered by an unusual deference and high respect paid her
by the court since the beginning of her majesty's illness. The king
continued his attentions to her; for though he had proved himself
"fondly disconsolate" and wept sorely for her majesty, he never during
her sickness omitted an opportunity of conversing with Miss Stuart, or
neglected supping with Lady Castlemaine. But the hopes entertained
by the maid of honour were speedily overthrown, for contrary to all
expectation the queen recovered, and was so well on the 10th November as
to "bespeak herself a new gowne"

And so the court remained unchanged, and life went on as before; the
queen growing gradually stronger, the king making love to Miss Stuart by
day, and visiting Lady Castlemaine by night. And it happened one evening
when he went to sup with the latter there was a chine of beef to roast,
and no fire to cook it because the Thames had flooded the kitchen.
Hearing which, the countess called out to the cook, "Zounds, you must
set the house on fire but it shall be roasted!" And roasted it was.


  Notorious courtiers.--My Lord Rochester's satires.--Places a watch on
  certain ladies of quality.--His majesty becomes indignant.--Rochester
  retires to the country.--Dons a disguise and returns to town.--Practises
  astrology.--Two maids of honour seek adventure.--Mishaps which befell
  them.--Rochester forgiven.--The Duke of Buckingham.--Lady Shrewsbury
  and her victims.--Captain Howard's duel.--Lord Shrewsbury avenges
  his honour.--A strange story.--Colonel Blood attempts an
  abduction.--Endeavours to steal the regalia.--The king converses with

Prominent among the courtiers, and foremost amid the friends of his
majesty, were two noblemen distinguished alike for their physical
grace, exceeding wit, and notable eccentricity. These were the Earl of
Rochester, and his Grace of Buckingham; gallants both, whose respective
careers were so intimately connected with the court as to make further
chronicle of them necessary in these pages.

My Lord Rochester, though younger in years than the duke, was superior
to him in wit, comeliness, and attraction. Nor was there a more
conspicuous figure observable in the palace of Whitehall than this same
earl, who was ever foremost in pursuit of such pleasures as wine begets
and love appeases. His mirth was the most buoyant, his conversation the
most agreeable, his manner the most engaging in the world; whence he
became "the delight and wonder of men, the love and dotage of women."
A courtier possessed of so happy a disposition, and endowed with such
brilliant talents, could not fail in pleasing the king; who vastly
enjoyed his society, but was occasionally obliged to banish his person
from court, when his eccentric conduct rendered him intolerable, or his
bitter satire aimed at royalty. For it was given no other man in his age
to blend merry wit and caustic ridicule so happily together; therefore
those who read his lines were forced to laugh at his fancy, even whilst
hurt by his irony.

Now in order to keep this talent in constant practice, he was wont to
celebrate in inimitable verse such events, be they private or public, as
happened at court, or befell the courtiers; and inasmuch as his subjects
were frequently of a licentious nature, his lines were generally of a
scandalous character. He therefore became the public censor of court
folly; and so unerringly did his barbed shafts hit the weaknesses at
which they aimed, that his productions were equally the terror of those
he victimized, and the delight of those he spared.

This liberal use of satire he was wont to excuse on the plea there were
some who could not be kept in order, or admonished, by other means.
Therefore, having the virtue of his friends keenly at heart, an
ingenious plan occurred to him by which he might secretly discover their
vices, and publicly reprove them. In order that he might fulfil this
purpose to his greater satisfaction, he promptly sought and found a
footman, who, by virtue of his employment, was well acquainted with the
courtiers. This man the "noble and beautiful earl" furnished with a red
coat and a musket, that he might pass as a sentinel, and then placed
him every night throughout one winter at the doors of certain ladies of
quality whom he suspected of carrying on intrigues.

In this disguise the footman readily passed as a soldier stationed at
his post by command of his officer, and was thus enabled to note
what gentlemen called on the suspected ladies at unreasonable but
not unfashionable hours. Accordingly, my lord made many surprising
discoveries, and when he had gained sufficient information on such
delicate points, he quietly retired into the country, that he might with
greater ease devote himself to the composition of those lively verses
which he subsequently circulated through the court, to the wonder and
dismay of many, and the delight and profit of few.

To these lampoons no name was attached, and my lord took precautions
that their authorship should not be satisfactorily proved, no matter how
sagely suspected. Moreover, in his conversation he was judicious
enough to keep the weapon of his satire in reserve; sheathing its fatal
keenness in a bewitching softness of civility until occasion required
its use; when forth it flashed all the brighter for its covering, all
the sharper for its rest. And satire being absent from his speech,
humour ever waited on his words; and never was he more extravagantly gay
than when assisting at the pleasant suppers given by the merry monarch
to his choicest friends.

Here, whilst drinking deep of ruddy wine from goblets of old gold, he
narrated his strange experiences, and illustrated them with flashes of
his wit. For it was the habit of this eccentric earl, when refinements
of the court began to pall upon him, or his absence from Whitehall
became a necessity, to seek fresh adventure and intrigue disguised as a
porter, a beggar, or a ballad-monger. And so carefully did he hide his
identity in the character he assumed, that his most intimate friends
failed to recognise his personality.

No doubt the follies in which he indulged were in some measure due to
the eccentricity ever attendant upon genius; but they were probably
likewise occasioned by craving for excitement begotten of drink. For
my lord loved wine exceedingly; and when he drew near unto death in the
dawn of his manhood, confessed to Bishop Burnet that for five years he
was continually drunk: "Not that he was all the while under the visible
effects of it, but his blood was so inflamed, that he was not in all
that time cool enough to be perfectly master of himself." Charles
delighted in the society of this gay courtier, because of his erratic
adventures, and his love of wine. Moreover, the licentious verses which
it was the earl's good pleasure to compose, the names of some of which
no decent lips would whisper in this age of happy innocence, afforded
the monarch extravagant enjoyment. Withal his majesty's satisfaction in
Lord Rochester's wit was not always to be counted upon, as it proved.
For it came to pass one night at the close of a royal supper, during
which the earl had drunk deep, that with great goodwill to afford the
king diversion, he handed his majesty what he believed was a satire on
a courtier, more remarkable for its humour than its decency. Whereon
Charles, with anticipation of much delight, opened the folded page,
when he was surprised to see, not a copy of verses, but an unflattering
description of himself, which ran as follows:

     "Here lies our mutton-eating king,
      Whose word no man relies on;
      Who never said a foolish thing,
      And never did a wise one."

Now the king, though the best tempered of men and most lenient of
masters, was naturally wrathful at this verbal character: the more so
because recognising its faithfulness at a glance. He therefore upbraided
Rochester with ingratitude, and banished him from the court.

Nothing dismayed, my lord retired into the country; but in a short
time, growing weary of pastoral solitude which gave him an appetite for
adventure it could not wholly supply, he returned privately to town, and
assuming a disguise, took up his residence in the city. Here exercising
his characteristic tact, and great capacity for pleasing, he
speedily made friends with wealthy merchants and worthy aldermen, who
subsequently invited him to their hospitable tables, and introduced him
to their gracious ladies.

And as his conversation had not failed to delight the husbands, neither
were his charms unsuccessful in affording satisfaction to their wives.
To the one he railed against the impotence of the king's ministers, to
the other he declaimed upon the wickedness of his majesty's mistresses;
and to both his denunciations were equally sincere and acceptable.
But his bitterest words were reserved for such courtiers as Rochester,
Buckingham, and Killigrew, whose dissipated lives were the scandal of
all honest men, the terror of all virtuous women: insolent fellows,
moreover, who had the impudence to boast that city ladies were not so
faithful to their husbands as was generally supposed, and, moreover, the
boldness to assert that they painted. Indeed, he marvelled much, that
since such men were frequenters of Whitehall, sacred fire from heaven
had not long since descended and consumed the royal palace to ashes.
Such virtuous sentiments as these, expressed by so gallant a man, made
him acceptable in many homes: and the result was he speedily became
surfeited by banquets, suppers, and other hospitalities, to which the
excellent but credulous citizens bade him heartily welcome.

He therefore disappeared from their midst one day as suddenly and
unaccountably as he had come amongst them. He did not, however, take
himself afar, but donning a new disguise, retreated to a more distant
part of the city: for an idea had occurred to him which he determined
speedily to put in practice. This was to assume the character and
bearing of a sage astrologer and learned physician, at once capable of
reading the past, and laying bare the future of all who consulted him;
also of healing diseases of and preventing mishaps to such as
visited him. Accordingly, having taken lodgings in Tower Street, at a
goldsmith's house, situated next the Black Swan, he prepared himself for
practice, adopted the title of doctor, the name of Alexander Bendo, and
issued bills headed by the royal arms, containing the most remarkable
and impudent manifesto perhaps ever set forth by any impostor.

Copies of this may yet be seen in early editions of his works. It was
addressed to all gentlemen, ladies, and others, whether of the city,
town, or country, to whom Alexander Bendo wished health and prosperity.
He had come amongst them because the great metropolis of England had
ever been infested by numerous quacks, whose arrogant confidence, backed
by their ignorance, had enabled them to impose on the public; either
by premeditated cheats in physic, chymical and galenic, in astrology,
physiognomy, palmistry, mathematics, alchymy, and even government
itself. Of which latter he did not propose to discourse, or meddle with,
since it in no way belonged to his trade or vocation, which he thanked
God he found much more safe, equally honest, and more profitable. But
he, Alexander Bendo, had with unswerving faithfulness and untiring
assiduity for years courted the arts and sciences, and had learned dark
secrets and received signal favours from them. He was therefore prepared
to take part against unlearned wretches, and arrant quacks, whose
impudent addresses and saucy pretences had brought scandal upon sage and
learned men.

However, in a wicked world like this, where virtue was so exactly
counterfeited, and hypocrisy was generally successful, it would be hard
for him, a stranger, to escape censure. But indeed he would submit to
be considered a mountebank if he were discovered to be one. Having made
which statement, he proceeded to draw an ingenious comparison between
a mountebank and a politician, suitable to all ages and dimes, but
especially to this century and country. Both, he intimated, are fain to
supply the lack of higher abilities to which they pretend, with craft;
and attract attention by undertaking strange things which can never be
performed. By both the people are pleased and deluded; the expectation
of good in the future drawing their eyes from the certainty of evil in
the present.

The sage Alexander Bendo then discoursed of miraculous cures which he
could effect, but he would set down no word in his bill which bore an
unclean sound. It was enough that he made himself understood, but indeed
he had seen physicians' bills containing things of which no man
who walked warily before God could approve. Concerning astrological
predictions, physiognomy, divination by dreams, and otherwise, he would
say, if it did not look like ostentation, he had seldom failed, but had
often been of service; and to those who came to him he would guarantee
satisfaction. Nor would he be ashamed to avow his willingness to
practise rare secrets, for the help, conservation, and augmentation of
beauty and comeliness; an endowment granted for the better establishment
of mutual love between man and woman, and as such highly valuable to
both. The knowledge of secrets like this he had gathered during journeys
through France and Italy, in which countries he had spent his life since
he was fifteen years old. Those who had travelled in the latter country
knew what a miracle art there performs in behalf of beauty; how women
of forty bear the same countenance as those of fifteen, ages being in
no way distinguished by appearances; whereas in England, by looking at a
horse in the mouth and a woman in the face, it was possible to tell the
number of their years. He could, therefore, give such remedies as would
render those who came to him perfectly fair; clearing and preserving
them from all spots, freckles, pimples, marks of small-pox, or traces
of accidents. He would, moreover, cure the teeth, clear the breath, take
away fatness, and add flesh.

A man who vouched to perform such wonders was not long without patients.
At first these were drawn from his immediate neighbourhood, but soon his
fame reached the heart of the city. Accordingly, many ladies of
whose hospitality he had partaken, and of whose secrets he had become
possessed, hurried to consult him; and the marvellous insight he
betrayed regarding their past, and strange predictions he pronounced
concerning their future, filled them with amazement, and occasionally
with alarm. And they, proclaiming the marvels of his wisdom, widened the
circle of his reputation, until his name was spoken within the precincts
of Whitehall.

Curiosity concerning so remarkable a man at once beset the minds of
certain ladies at court, who either feared or expected much from the
future, and were anxious to peer into such secrets as it held concerning
themselves. But dreading the notoriety their presence would naturally
cause in the vicinity of Tower Street, a spot to them unknown, they,
acting with a prudence not invariably characteristic of their
conduct, sent their maids to ascertain from personal experience if the
astrologer's wisdom was in truth as marvellous as reported. Now, when
these appeared in fear and trembling before the great Alexander Bendo,
the knowledge he revealed concerning themselves, and their mistresses
likewise, was so wonderful that it exceeded all expectation.
Accordingly, the maids returned to court with such testimonies
concerning the lore of this star-reader, as fired afresh their
mistresses' desires to see and converse with him in their proper

It therefore came to pass that Miss Price and Miss Jennings, maids
of honour both--the one to the queen, the other to the Duchess of
York--boldly resolved to visit Doctor Bendo, and learn what the future
held for them. Miss Price was a lady who delighted in adventure; Miss
Jennings was a gentlewoman of spirit; both looked forward to their visit
with excitement and interest. It happened one night, when the court had
gone to the playhouse, these ladies, who had excused themselves from
attending the queen and the duchess, dressed as orange girls, and taking
baskets of fruit under their arms, quickly crossed the park, and entered
a hackney-coach at Whitehall Gate. Bidding the driver convey them to
Tower Street, they rattled merrily enough over the uneven streets until
they came close to the theatre, when, being in high spirits and feeling
anxious to test the value of their disguise, they resolved to alight
from their conveyance, enter the playhouse, and offer their wares for
sale in presence of the court.

Accordingly, paying the driver, they descended from the coach, and
running between the lines of chairs gathered round the theatre, gained
the door. Now, who should arrive at that moment but the beau Sidney,
attired in the bravery of waving feathers, fluttering ribbons, and
rich-hued velvets. And as he paused to adjust his curls to his greater
satisfaction before entering the playhouse, Miss Price went boldly
forward and asked him to buy her fine oranges; but so engaged was he in
his occupation, that he did not deign to make reply, but passed into
the theatre without turning his glance upon her. Miss Jennings, however,
fared somewhat differently; and with less satisfaction to herself; for,
perceiving another courtier, none other than Tom Killigrew, a rare wit
and lover of pleasure, she went up to him and offered her fruit for
sale. These he declined to buy; but chucking her under the chin, and
glancing at her with an air of familiarity, invited her to bring her
oranges to his lodgings next morning. On this Miss Jennings, who was as
virtuous as lovely, pushed him away with violence, and forgetting the
character she assumed, commenced rebuking his insolence, much to the
amusement and surprise of the bystanders. Fearing detection of their
identity, Miss Price pulled her forcibly away from the crowd.

Miss Jennings was after this incident anxious to forego her visit to the
astrologer, and return to Whitehall, but her companion declaring
this would be a shameful want of spirit, they once more entered a
hackney-coach, and requested they might be driven to the lodgings of
the learned Doctor Bendo. Their adventures for the evening were
unfortunately not yet at an end; for just as they entered Tower Street
they saw Henry Brinker, one of the gentlemen of the bedchamber to the
Duke of York. Now it happened this courtier had been dining with a
citizen of worth and wealth, whose house he was about to leave the
moment the maids of honour drove by. They, knowing him to be a man
remarkable for his gallantries, were anxious to avoid his observation,
and therefore directed the driver to proceed a few doors beyond their
destination; but he, having caught sight of two pretty orange wenches,
followed the coach and promptly stepping up as they alighted, made some
bold observations to them. On this both turned away their heads that
they might avoid his gaze, a proceeding which caused him to observe
them with closer scrutiny, when he immediately recognised them, without
however intimating his knowledge. He therefore fell to teasing them, and
finally left them with no very pleasant remarks ringing in their ears,
concerning the virtue which obtained among maids of honour, for he did
not doubt their disguise was assumed for purposes of intrigue.

Overwhelmed with confusion, they walked towards the goldsmith's shop,
over which the oracle delivered wisdom; but being no longer in a humour
to heed his words, they presently resolved on driving back to Whitehall
with all possible speed. But alas! on turning round they beheld their
driver waging war with a crowd which had gathered about his vehicle; for
having left their oranges in the coach, some boys had essayed to help
themselves, whereon the man fell foul of them. But he, being one against
many, was like to fare badly at their hands; seeing which, the maids of
honour persuaded him to let the crowd take the fruit and drive them back
at once. This conduct had not the effect of appeasing those who profited
by its generosity; for the gentlewomen were greeted with most foul
abuse, and many unworthy charges were laid to their account in language
more vigorous than polished. And having at last arrived in safety at
Whitehall, they resolved never to sally forth in search of adventure

After various strange experiences in his character as doctor of medicine
and teller of fortunes, of the weakness of human nature and strength of
common credulity, the learned Alexander Bendo vanished from the city;
and about the same time the gallant Earl of Rochester appeared at
court, where he sought for and obtained the merry monarch's pardon.
The wonderful stories he was enabled to relate, piquant in detail, and
sparkling with wit, rendered it delightful to the king, in whose favour
he soon regained his former supremacy. Nay, Charles even determined to
enrich and reward him, not indeed from the resources of his privy purse,
his majesty's income being all too little for his mistresses' rapacity,
but by uniting him to a charming woman and an heiress.

The lady whom his majesty selected for this purpose was Elizabeth
Mallett, daughter of Lord Hawley of Donamore. Now this gentlewoman had a
fortune of two thousand five hundred a year, a considerable sum in
those days, and one which gained her many suitors; amongst whom Lord
Hinchingbrook was commended by her family, and Lord Rochester by the
king. Now the latter nobleman, having but a poor estate, was anxious to
obtain her wealth, and fearful of losing his suit: and being uncertain
as to whether he could gain her consent to marry him by fair means, he
resolved to obtain it by execution of a daring scheme.

This was to carry her off by force, an action which highly commended
itself to his adventurous spirit. Accordingly he selected a night on
which the heiress supped at Whitehall with her friend Miss Stuart,
for conducting his enterprise. It therefore happened that as Elizabeth
Mallett was returning home from the palace in company with her
grandfather, their coach was suddenly stopped at Charing Cross.
Apprehending some danger, Lord Hawley looked out, and by the red light
of a score of torches flashing through darkness, saw he was surrounded
by a band of armed men, both afoot and on horse. Their action was prompt
and decisive, for before either my lord or his granddaughter was aware
of their intention, the latter was seized, forcibly lifted from the
coach, and transferred to another which awaited close at hand. This
was driven by six horses, and occupied by two women, who received the
heiress with all possible respect. No sooner had she been placed in
the coach than the horses were set to a gallop, and away she sped,
surrounded by a company of horsemen.

Lord Hawley was cast into the uttermost grief and passion by this
outrage; but his condition did not prevent him speedily gathering a
number of friends and retainers, in company with whom he gave chase to
those who had abducted his granddaughter; and so fast did they ride that
Mistress Mallett was overtaken at Uxbridge, and carried back in safety
to town. For this outrageous attempt, my Lord Rochester was by the
king's command committed to the Tower, there to await his majesty's good
pleasure. It seemed now as if the earl's chance of gaining the heiress
had passed away for ever; inasmuch as Charles regarded the attempted
abduction with vast displeasure, and my Lord Hawley with terrible

But the ways of women being inexplicable, it happened in a brief
while Mistress Mallett was inclined to regret my Lord Rochester's
imprisonment, and therefore moved to have him released; and, moreover,
she was subsequently pleased to regard his suit and accept him as her
wedded lord. It speaks favourably for his character that with all
his faults she loved him well: nor did Rochester, though occasionally
unfaithful, ever treat her with unkindness. At times the old spirit of
restlessness and passion for adventure would master him, when he would
withdraw himself from her society for weeks and months. But she, though
sadly afflicted by such conduct, did not resent it. "If I could have
been troubled at anything, when I had the happiness of receiving a
letter from you," she writes to him on one occasion when he had absented
himself from her for long, "I should be so because you did not name a
time when I might hope to see you, the uncertainty of which very much
afflicts me." And again the poor patient wife tells him, "Lay your
commands upon me, what I am to do, and though it be to forget my
children, and the long hope I have lived in of seeing you, yet I will
endeavour to obey you; or in memory only torment myself, without giving
you the trouble of putting you in mind that there lives such a creature
as your faithful humble servant." At length dissipation undermined his
naturally strong constitution; and for months this once most gay and
gallant man, this "noble and beautiful earl," lay dying of that cruel
disease consumption. The while such thoughts as come to those who reason
of life's vanities beset him; and as he descended into the valley of
shadows, the folly of this world's ways was made clear to him. And
repenting of his sins, he died in peace with God and man at the age of

George Villiers second Duke of Buckingham, was not less notable than my
Lord Rochester. By turns he played such diverse parts in life's
strange comedy as that of a spendthrift and a miser, a profligate and
a philosopher, a statesman who sought the ruin of his country, and a
courtier who pandered to the pleasures of his king. But inasmuch as this
history is concerned with the social rather than the political life of
those mentioned in its pages, place must be given to such adventures as
were connected with the court and courtiers. Buckingham's were chiefly
concerned with his intrigues, which, alas! were many and strange; for
though his wife was loving and virtuous, she was likewise lean and
brown, and wholly incapable of controlling his erring fancies. Perhaps
it was knowledge of her lack of comeliness which helped her to bear
the burden of his follies; for according to Madame Dunois, though the
duchess knew he was continually engaged in amours, she, by virtue of a
patience uncommon to her sex, forbore mentioning the subject to him,
and "had complaisance enough to entertain his mistresses, and even lodge
them in her house, all which she suffered because she loved him."

The most remarkable of his intrigues was that which connected his name
with the Countess of Shrewsbury. Her ladyship, was daughter of the
second Earl of Cardigan, and wife of the eleventh Earl of Shrewsbury.
She was married a year previous to the restoration, and upon the
establishment of the court at Whitehall had become one of its most
distinguished beauties. Nor was she less famed for the loveliness of her
person than for the generosity of her disposition; inasmuch as none
who professed themselves desirous of her affection were ever allowed to
languish in despair. She therefore had many admirers, some of whom were
destined to suffer for the distinction her friendship conferred.

Now one of the first to gain her attachment was the young Earl of Arran,
the grace of whose bearing and ardour of whose character were alike
notable to the court. The verses he sung her to an accompaniment of his
guitar, and the glances he gave her indicative of his passion, might
have melted a heart less cold than hers. Accordingly they gained him
a friendship which, by reason of her vast benevolence, many were
subsequently destined to share. Now it chanced that the little Jermyn,
who had already succeeded in winning the affections of such notable
women as the poor Princess of Orange and my Lady Castlemaine, and
had besides conducted a series of minor intrigues with various ladies
connected with the court, was somewhat piqued that Lady Shrewsbury had
accepted my Lord Arran's attentions without encouraging his. For Henry
Jermyn, by virtue of the fascinations he exercised and the consequent
reputation he enjoyed, expected to be wooed by such women as desired his

But when, later on, Lord Arran's devotion to the lady was succeeded by
that of Thomas Howard, brother to the Earl of Carlisle, and captain
of the guards, Jermyn was thoroughly incensed, and resolved to make an
exception in favour of the countess by beginning those civilities which
act as preludes to intrigue. My lady, who was not judicious enough to be
off with the old love before she was on with the new, accepted Jermyn's
advances with an eagerness that gave promise of further favours. This
was highly displeasing to Howard, a brave and generous man, who under
an exterior of passive calmness concealed a spirit of fearless courage.
Though not desirous of picking a quarrel with his rival, he was
unwilling to suffer his impertinent interference. Jermyn, on the other
hand, not being aware of Howard's real character, sought an early
opportunity of insulting him. Such being their dispositions, a quarrel
speedily ensued, which happened in this manner.

One fair summer day Captain Howard gave an entertainment at Spring
Gardens, in honour of the countess. These gardens were situated close by
Charing Cross, and opened into the spacious walks of St. James's
Park. Bounded on one side by a grove, and containing leafy arbours and
numerous thickets, the gardens were "contrived to all the advantages
of gallantry." The scene of many an intrigue, they were constantly
frequented by denizens of the court and dwellers in the city, to whom
they afforded recreation and pleasure. In the centre of these fair
gardens stood a cabaret, or house of entertainment, where repasts were
served at exceeding high prices, and much good wine was drunk. Here it
was Captain Howard received my Lady Shrewsbury and a goodly company,
spread a delicate banquet for them, and for their better diversion
provided some excellent music played upon the bagpipes, by a soldier
noted for his execution on that instrument.

Jermyn hearing of the great preparations Captain Howard made, resolved
to be present on the occasion; and accordingly, before the hour
appointed for dinner, betook himself to the garden, and as if he had
arrived there by accident, strolled leisurely down the broad pleasant
paths, bordered by pinks and fragrant roses clustering in the hedgerows.
And presently drawing nigh the cabaret, he tarried there until the
countess, rich in physical graces, with sunny smiles upon her lips, and
amorous light in her eyes, stepped forth upon the balcony and greeted
him. Whereon his heart took fire: and entering the house, he joined her
where she stood, and held pleasant converse with her. Inflated by his
success, he resolved on making himself disagreeable to the host, and
therefore ventured to criticize the entertainment, and ridicule the
music, which he voted barbarous to civilized ears. And to such an extent
did he outrage Thomas Howard, that the gallant captain, being more of
a soldier than a courtier, and therefore preferring passages at arms to
those of wit, could scarce refrain from drawing his sword and demanding
the satisfaction due to him.

However, he subdued his wrath till the day was spent, and early next
morning sent a challenge to his rival. Accordingly they met with fierce
intent, and the duel which followed ended almost fatally for Jermyn,
who was carried from the scene of encounter bleeding from three wounds
caused by his antagonist's sword.

The unfortunate issue of this fight deprived Lady Shrewsbury of two
lovers; for Howard, having rendered Jermyn unable to perform the part
of a gallant, was obliged to fly from the country and remain abroad some

In their stead the countess sought consolation in the companionship of
Thomas Killigrew, a handsome man and a notable courtier. She therefore
had no regrets for the past: and he was entirely happy in the present,
so that he boasted of his felicities to all acquaintance, in general,
and to his friend the Duke of Buckingham in particular. It was
Killigrew's constant habit to sup with his grace, on which occasions his
conversation invariably turned on her ladyship, when, his imagination
being heated by wine, he freely endowed her with the perfections of a
goddess. To such descriptions the duke could not listen unmoved; and
therefore resolved to judge for himself if indeed the countess was such
a model of loveliness as Killigrew represented. Accordingly, at the
first opportunity which presented itself, the duke made love to her,
and she, nothing averse to his attentions, encouraged his affections.
Killigrew was much aggrieved at this unexpected turn of affairs,
and bitterly reproached the countess; but she, being mistress of the
situation, boldly denied all knowledge of him.

This was more than he expected or could endure, and he consequently
abused her roundly in all companies, characterizing the charms of which
he once boasted as faults he could not endure; ridiculing her airs, and
denouncing her conduct. Reports of his comments and discourses speedily
reached Lady Shrewsbury's ears; and he was privately warned that if
he did not desist means would be taken to silence him effectually. Not
being wise enough to accept this hint he continued to vilify her. The
result was, one night when returning from the Duke of York's apartments
he was suddenly waylaid in St. James's Park, and three passes of a
sword made at him through his chair, one of which pierced his arm. Not
doubting they had despatched him to a better world, His assailants made
their escape; and my Lady Shrewsbury, who singularly enough happened
to be passing at the time in her coach, and had stopped to witness the
proceedings, drove off as speedily as six horses could carry her.

Knowing it would be impossible to trace the villainy which had prompted
this deed to its source, Killigrew said not a word concerning the
murderous attempt, and henceforth held his peace regarding his late
mistress's imperfections. For some time she continued her intrigue with
the Duke of Buckingham without interference. But in an evil hour
it happened the Earl of Shrewsbury, who had long entertained a
philosophical indifference towards her previous amours, now undertook to
defend his honour, which it was clear his Grace of Buckingham had sadly

Accordingly he challenged the duke to combat, and in due time they met
face to face in a field by Barnes Elms. His grace had as seconds Sir
Robert Holmes and Captain William Jenkins; the earl being supported by
Sir John Talbot and Bernard Howard, son of my Lord Arundel. The fight
was brief and bloody; Lord Shrewsbury, being run through the body, was
carried from the field in an insensible condition. The duke received but
a slight wound, but his friend Captain Jenkins was killed upon the spot.
The while swords clashed, blood flowed, and lives hung in a balance, the
woman who wrought this evil stood close by, disguised as a page, holding
the bridle of her lover's horse, as Lord Orford mentions.

In consequence of this duel the Duke of Buckingham absented himself
from the capital; but two months after its occurrence King Charles
was pleased, "in contemplation of the services heretofore done to his
majesty by most of the persons engaged in the late duel or rencontre, to
graciously pardon the said offence." Three months after the day on which
he fought, Lord Shrewsbury died from effects of his wounds, when the
duke boldly carried the widow to his home. The poor duchess, who had
patiently borne many wrongs, could not stand this grievous and public
insult, and declared she would not live under the same roof with so
shameless a woman. "So I thought, madam," rejoined her profligate lord,
"and have therefore ordered your coach to convey you to your father."

The countess continued to live with her paramour; nor was the court
scandalized. The queen, it is true, openly espoused the cause of the
outraged duchess, and sought to enlist sympathy on her behalf; but so
low was the tone of public morality that her words were unheeded, and no
voice was raised in protest against this glaring infamy. Nay, the duke
went further still in his efforts towards injuring the wife to whom he
owed so much, and who loved him over-well; as he caused his chaplain,
the Rev. Thomas Sprat, to marry him to my Lady Shrewsbury; and
subsequently conferred on the son to which she gave birth, and for whom
the king stood godfather, his second title of Earl of Coventry. His wife
was henceforth styled by the courtiers Dowager Duchess of Buckingham.
It is worthy of mention that the Rev. Thomas Sprat in good time became
Bishop of Rochester, and, it is written, "an ornament to the church
among those of the highest order."

One of the most extraordinary characters which figured in this reign was
Thomas Blood, sometimes styled colonel. He was remarkable for his great
strength, high courage, and love of adventure. The son of an Irish
blacksmith, he had, on the outbreak of civil warfare in his native
country, joined Cromwell's army; and for the bravery he evinced was
raised to the rank of lieutenant, rewarded by a substantial grant of
land, and finally made a justice of the peace. At the restoration he was
deprived of this honour, as he was likewise of the property he called
his, which was returned to its rightful owner, an honest royalist.
Wholly dissatisfied with a government which dealt him such hardships,
he organised a plot to raise an insurrection in Ireland, storm Dublin
Castle, and seize the Duke of Ormond, then lord lieutenant. This
dark scheme was discovered by his grace; the chief conspirators were
accordingly seized, with the exception of Blood, who succeeded in making
his escape to Holland. His fellow traitors were tried and duly executed.

From Holland, Blood journeyed into England, where, becoming acquainted
with some republicans, he entered into projects with them calculated to
disturb the nation's peace; which fact becoming known, he was obliged to
seek refuge in Scotland. Here he found fresh employment for his restless
energies, and in the year 1666 succeeded in stirring up some malcontents
to rebellion. The revolt being quelled, he escaped to Ireland; and after
a short stay in that country returned once more to England, where he
sought security in disguise.

He lived here in peace until 1670, when he made an attempt no less
remarkable for its ingenuity than notable for its villainy. Towards the
end of that year the Prince of Orange, being in London, was invited by
the lord mayor to a civic banquet. Thither the Duke of Ormond attended
him, and subsequently accompanied him to St. James's, where the prince
then stayed. A short distance from the palace gates stood Clarendon
House, where the duke then resided, and towards which he immediately
drove, on taking leave of his royal highness. Scarce had he proceeded a
dozen yards up St. James's Street, when his coach was suddenly stopped
by a band of armed and mounted men, who, hurriedly surrounding his
grace, dragged him from the carriage and mounted him on a horse behind a
stalwart rider. Word of command being then given, the gang started at a
brisk pace down Piccadilly. Prompted by enemies of the duke, as well as
urged by his own desires to avenge his loss of property and the death of
his fellow-conspirators, Blood resolved to hang him upon the gallows
at Tyburn. That he might accomplish this end with greater speed and
security, he, leaving his victim securely buckled and tied to the fellow
behind whom he had been mounted, galloped forward in advance to adjust
the rope to the gallows, and make other necessary preparations.

No sooner did the echo of his horse's hoofs die away, than the duke,
recovering the stupor this sudden attack had caused, became aware
that now was his opportunity to effect escape, if, indeed, such were
possible. He to whom his grace was secured was a burly man possessed of
great strength; the which Lord Ormond, being now past his sixtieth
year, had not. However, life was dear to him, and therefore he began
struggling with the fellow; and finally getting his foot under the
villain's, he unhorsed him, when both fell heavily to the ground.
Meanwhile his grace's coach having driven to Clarendon House, the
footmen had given an account of the daring manner in which his abduction
had been effected. On this an alarm was immediately raised, and the
porter, servants, and others hastened down Piccadilly in search of their
master, fast as good horses could carry them.

They had proceeded as far as the village of Knightsbridge, when reports
of muskets, cries for help, and sounds of a scuffle they could not see
for darkness, fell upon their ears, and filled them with alarm. The
whole neighbourhood seemed startled, lights flashed, dogs barked, and
many persons rushed towards the scene of encounter. Aware of this, the
miscreants who had carried off the duke discharged their pistols at him,
and leaving him, as they supposed, for dead, fled to avoid capture, and
were seen or heard of no more. His grace was carried in an insensible
condition to a neighbouring house, but not having received serious hurt,
recovered in a few days. The court and town were strangely alarmed by
this outrage; nor as time passed was there any clue obtained to its
perpetrators, though the king offered a thousand pounds reward for their

The duke and his family, however, had little doubt his grace of
Buckingham was instigator of the deed; and Lord Ossory was resolved the
latter should be made aware of their conviction. Therefore, entering the
royal drawing-room one day, he saw the duke standing beside his majesty,
and going forward addressed him. "My lord," said he in a bold tone,
whilst he looked him full in the face, "I know well that you are at the
bottom of this late attempt upon my father; and I give you fair warning,
if my father comes to a violent end by sword or pistol, or if he dies by
the hand of a ruffian, or by the more secret way of poison, I shall not
be at a loss to know the first author of it: I shall consider you as
the assassin; I shall treat you as such; and wherever I meet you I shall
pistol you, though you stood behind the king's chair; and I tell you it
in his majesty's presence, that you may be sure I shall keep my word."
No further attempt was made upon the Duke of Ormond's life.

Scarce six months elapsed from date of the essayed abduction, before
Blood endeavoured to steal the regalia and royal jewels preserved in the
Tower. The courage which prompted the design is not more remarkable than
the skill which sought to effect it; both were worthy a man of genius.
In the month of April, 1671, Blood, attired in the cassock, cloak,
and canonical girdle of a clergyman, together with a lady, whom he
represented as his wife, visited the Tower on purpose to see the crown.
With their desire Mr. Edwards, the keeper, an elderly man and a worthy,
readily complied. It chanced they were no sooner in the room where
the regalia was kept, than the lady found herself taken suddenly and
unaccountably ill, and indeed feared she must die; before bidding adieu
to life, she begged for a little whisky. This was promptly brought her,
and Mrs. Edwards, who now appeared upon the scene, invited the poor
gentlewoman to rest upon her bed. Whilst she complied with this
kind request, the clergyman and Edwards had time to improve their
acquaintance, which indeed bade fair towards speedily ripening into

And presently the lady recovering, she and her spouse took their leave
with many expressions of gratitude and respect. Four days later, the
good parson called on Mrs. Edwards, in order to present her with
four pairs of fine new gloves, which she was pleased to receive. This
gracious act paved the way to further friendship, which at last found
its climax in a proposal of marriage made by the parson on behalf of
his nephew, for the hand of young Mistress Edwards. "You have a pretty
gentlewoman for your daughter," said the clergyman, "and I have a young
nephew, who has two or three hundred pounds a year in land, and is at my
disposal; if your daughter be free, and you approve of it, I will bring
him hither to see her, and we will endeavour to make a match of it."

To this project Edwards readily consented, and invited the clergyman and
the young man to spend a day with him when they could discourse on the
subject with greater leisure and more satisfaction. This was cordially
agreed to by the parson, who, with the bridegroom elect and two of his
friends, presented themselves on the appointed date, as early as seven
of the clock in the morning. Edwards was up betimes; but the good
clergyman, apologizing for the untimely hour of their arrival, which he
attributed to his nephew's eagerness for sight of his mistress, declared
he would not enter the keeper's apartments until Mrs. Edwards was ready
to receive them. However, in order to pass the time, he begged his host
might show the jewels to their young friends.

With this petition Edwards complied readily enough. One of the men,
protesting he did not care to see the treasures, waited at the door; the
other three entered with the keeper, who was no sooner inside the room
than a cloak was thrown over his head, a gag, constructed of wood with
a hole in it by which he might breathe, clapped into his mouth, and
the more effectually to prevent him making a noise, an iron ring was
fastened to his nose. He was told if he attempted an alarm he would be
instantly killed, but if he remained quiet his life should be spared.
Blood and his two accomplices then seized upon the crown, orb, and
sceptre, seeing which, Edwards made as much noise as he possibly could
by stamping on the floor, whereon the robbers struck him with a mallet
on the head, stabbed him with a short sword in the side, and left him,
as they thought, for dead. Blood then secured the regalia under his
cloak, one of his companions put the orb into his breeches pocket,
whilst the other proceeded to file the sceptre that it might be more
conveniently carried.

Now, at this moment it happened the keeper's son, who had been absent in
Flanders, returned to his father's home. He who stood sentinel asked him
with whom he would speak, whereon young Edwards said he belonged to the
house, and so passed to the apartments where his family resided. The
other giving notice of his arrival, the robbers hastened to depart,
leaving the sceptre behind them. No sooner had they gone, than the old
man struggled to his feet, dragged the gag from his mouth, and cried
out in fright: "Treason--murder--murder--treason!" On this his daughter
rushed down, and seeing the condition of her father, and noting the
absence of the regalia, continued his cry, adding, "The crown is

Young Edwards and another who heard her, Captain Beekman, now gave
pursuit to the robbers, who had already got beyond the main guard.
Word was instantly shouted to the warder of the drawbridge to stop the
villains, but Blood was equal to this emergency; coolly advancing, he
discharged his pistol at the man, who instantly fell. The thieves then
crossed the bridge, passed through the outward gate, and made for the
street close by, where their horses awaited them, crying the while,
"Stop thief! stop thief!" Before they advanced far, Captain Beekman came
up with Blood, who, turning quickly round, fired his second pistol at
the head of his pursuer; but Beekman, suddenly stooping, escaped injury,
and sprang at the throat of his intended assassin. A struggle then
ensued. Blood was a man of powerful physique, but Beekman was lithe and
vigorous, and succeeded in holding the rogue until help arrived. In
the contest, the regalia fell to the ground, when a fair diamond and a
priceless pearl were lost; they were, however, eventually recovered.
The other thieves were likewise captured, and all of them secured in the

Certain death now faced Blood; but the wonderful luck which had
befriended him during life did not desert him now. At this time the Duke
of Buckingham was high in favour with the king, and desirous of saving
one who had secretly served him; or fearing exposure if Blood made a
full confession, his grace impressed Charles with a desire to see
the man who had perpetrated so daring a deed, saying he must be one
possessed of extraordinary spirit. Giving ready ear to his words,
the monarch consented to have an interview with the robber, for which
purpose he gave orders Blood should be brought to Whitehall.

Those who heard of the king's resolution felt satisfied Blood need not
despair of life; "for surely," said Sir Robert Southwell, on becoming
aware of his majesty's design, "no king should wish to see a malefactor
but with intentions to pardon him." Now Blood, being a man of genius,
resolved to play his part during the audience in a manner which would
favourably impress the king. Therefore when Charles asked him how he had
dared attempt so bold a robbery, Blood made answer he had lost a fine
property by the crown, and was resolved to recover it with the crown.
Diverted by his audacity his majesty questioned him further, when Blood
confessed to his attempted abduction of the Duke of Ormond, but refused
to name his accomplices. Nay, he narrated various other adventures,
showing them in a romantic light; and finally concluded by telling
the king he had once entered into a design to take his sacred life by
rushing upon him with a carbine from out of the reeds by the Thames
side, above Battersea, when he went to swim there; but he was so awed by
majesty his heart misgave him, and he not only relented, but persuaded
the remainder of his associates from such an intention.

This strange interview resulted in Charles pardoning Blood his many
crimes. The Duke of Ormond, at his majesty's request, likewise forgave
him. Nor did the king's interest in the villain end here; for he gave
him a pension of five hundred pounds a year, and admitted him to his
private friendship. Blood was therefore constantly at court, and made
one of that strange assembly of wits and profligates which surrounded
the throne. "No man," says Carte the historian, "was more assiduous
than he. If anyone had a business at court that stuck, he made his
application to Blood as the most industrious and successful solicitor;
and many gentlemen courted his acquaintance, as the Indians pray to
the devil, that he may not hurt them. He was perpetually in the royal
apartments, and affected particularly to be in the same room where the
Duke of Ormond was, to the indignation of all others, though neglected
and overlooked by his grace."


  Terror falls upon the people.--Rumours of a plague.--A sign in the
  heavens.--Flight from the capital.--Preparations against the dreaded
  enemy.--Dr. Boghurst's testimony.--God's terrible voice in the
  city.--Rules made by the lord mayor.--Massacre of animals.--O, dire
  death!--Spread of the distemper.--Horrible sights.--State of the
  deserted capital.--"Bring out your dead."--ashes to ashes.--Fires are
  lighted.--Relief of the poor.--The mortality bills.

It came to pass during the fifth month of the year 1665, that a great
terror fell upon the city of London; even as a sombre cloud darkens the
midday sky. For it was whispered abroad a plague had come amongst the
people, fears of which had been entertained, and signs of which had been
obvious for some time. During the previous November a few persons had
fallen victims to this dreaded pestilence, but the weather being cold
and the atmosphere clear, it had made no progress till April. In that
month two men had died of this most foul disease; and in the first week
of May its victims numbered nine; and yet another fortnight and it had
hurried seventeen citizens to the grave.

Now the memory of their wickedness rising before them, dread took up its
abode in all men's hearts; for none knew but his day of reckoning was at
hand. And their consternation was greater when it was remembered that
in the third year of this century thirty-six thousand citizens of London
had died of the plague, while twenty-five years later it had swept away
thirty-five thousand; and eleven years after full ten thousand persons
perished of this same pestilence. Moreover, but two years previous,
a like scourge had been rife in Holland; and in Amsterdam alone
twenty-four thousand citizens had died from its effects.

And the terror of the citizens of London was yet more forcibly increased
by the appearance in April of a blazing star or comet, bearing a tail
apparently six yards in length, which rose betimes in a lurid sky, and
passed with ominous movement from west to east. [It is worthy of
notice that Lilly in his "Astrological Predictions," published in 1648,
declared the year 1656 would be "ominous to London, unto her merchants
at sea, to her traffique at land, to her poor, to her rich, to all sorts
of people inhabiting in her or her Liberties, by reason of sundry fires
and a consuming plague."] The king with his queen and court, prompted by
curiosity, stayed up one night to watch this blazing star pass above
the silent city; the Royal Society in behalf of science embodied many
learned comments regarding it in their "Philosophical Transactions;" but
the great body of the people regarded it as a visible signal of God's
certain wrath. They were more confirmed in this opinion, as some amongst
them, whose judgments were distorted by fears, declared the comet had
at times before their eyes assumed the appearance of a fiery sword
threatening the sinful city. It was also noted in the spring of this
year that birds and wild fowls had left their accustomed places, and few
swallows were seen. But in the previous summer there had been "such a
multitude of flies that they lined the insides of houses; and if any
threads of strings did hang down in any place, they were presently
thick-set with flies like ropes of onions; and swarms of ants covered
the highways that you might have taken up a handful at a time, both
winged and creeping ants; and such a multitude of croaking frogs in
ditches that you might have heard them before you saw them," as is
set down by one William Boghurst, apothecary at the White Hart in St.
Giles-in-the-Fields, who wrote a learned "Treatis on the Plague"
in 1666, he being the only man who up to that time had done so from
experience and observation. [This quaint and curious production, which
has never been printed, and which furnishes the following pages
with some strange details, is preserved in the Sloane Collection of
Manuscripts in the British Museum.] And from such signs, as likewise
from knowledge that the pestilence daily increased, all felt a season of
bitter tribulation was at hand.

According to "Some Observations of the Plague," written by Dr. Hedges
for use of a peer of the realm, the dread malady was communicated to
London from the Netherlands "by way of contagion." It first made its
appearance in the parishes of St. Giles and St. Martin's, Westminster,
from which directions it gradually spread to Holborn, Fleet Street,
the Strand, and the city, finally reaching to the east, bringing death
invariably in its train.

The distemper was not only fatal in its termination, but loathsome
in its progress; for the blood of those affected being poisoned by
atmospheric contagion, bred venom in the body, which burst forth into
nauseous sores and uncleanness; or otherwise preyed with more rapid
fatality internally, in some cases causing death before its victims were
assured of disease. Nor did it spare the young and robust any more than
those weak of frame or ripe with years, but attacking stealthily, killed
speedily. It was indeed the "pestilence that walketh in darkness, and
the destruction that wasteth in the noonday." In the month of May, when
it was yet uncertain if the city would be spared even in part, persons
of position and wealth, and indeed those endowed with sufficient means
to support themselves elsewhere, resolved to fly from the capital;
whilst such as had neither home, friends, nor expectation of employment
in other places, remained behind. Accordingly great preparations were
made by those who determined on flight; and all day long vast crowds
gathered round my lord mayor's house in St. Helen's, Bishopsgate,
seeking certificates of health, so that for some weeks it was difficult
to reach his door for the throng that gathered there, as is stated by
John Noorthouck. Such official testimonies to the good health of
those leaving London had now become necessary; for the inhabitants of
provincial towns, catching the general alarm, refused to shelter in
their houses, or even let pass through their streets, the residents of
the plague-stricken city, unless officially assured they were free
from the dreaded distemper. Nay, even with such certificates in
their possession, many were refused admittance to inns, or houses of
entertainment, and were therefore obliged to sleep in fields by night,
and beg food by day, and not a few deaths were caused by want and

And now were the thoroughfares of the capital crowded all day long with
coaches conveying those who sought safety in flight, and with waggons
and carts containing their household goods and belongings, until it
seemed as if the city mould be left without a soul. Many merchants and
shipowners together with their families betook themselves to vessels,
which they caused to be towed down the river towards Greenwich, and in
which they resided for months; whilst others sought refuge in smacks and
fishing-boats, using them as shelters by day, and lodging on the banks
by night. Some few families remaining in the capital laid in stores
of provisions, and shutting themselves up securely in their houses,
permitted none to enter or leave, by which means some of them escaped
contagion and death. The court tarried until the 29th of June, and then
left for Hampton, none too soon, for the pestilence had reached almost
to the palace gates. The queen mother likewise departed, retiring into
France; from which country she never returned.

All through the latter part of May, and the whole of the following
month, this flight from the dread enemy of mankind continued; presenting
a melancholy spectacle to those who remained, until at last the capital
seemed veritably a city of the dead. But for the credit of humanity be
it stated, that not all possessed of health and wealth abandoned the
town. Prominent amongst those who remained were the Duke of Albemarle,
Lord Craven, the lord mayor, Sir John Laurence, some of his aldermen,
and a goodly number of physicians, chirurgeons, and apothecaries, all of
whom by their skill or exertions sought to check the hungry ravages of
death. The offices which medical men voluntarily performed during
this period of dire affliction were loathsome to a terrible degree. "I
commonly dressed forty sores in a day," says Dr. Boghurst, whose
simple words convey a forcible idea of his nobility; "held the pulse of
patients sweating in their beds half a quarter of an hour together; let
blood; administered clysters to the sick; held them up in their beds to
keep them from strangling and choking, half an hour together commonly,
and suffered their breathing in my face several times when they were
dying; eat and drank with them, especially those that had sores; sat
down by their bedsides and upon their beds, discoursing with them an
hour together. If I had time I stayed by them to see them die. Then if
people had nobody to help them (for help was scarce at such time and
place) I helped to lay them forth out of the bed, and afterwards into
the coffin; and last of all, accompanied them to the ground."

Of the physicians remaining in the city, nine fell a sacrifice to duty.
Amongst those who survived was the learned Dr. Nathaniel Hodges, who
was spared to meet a philanthropist's fate in penury and neglect. [Dr.
Hodges subsequently wrote a work entitled "Loimologia; or, an Historical
Account of the Plague of London," first published in 1672; of which,
together with a collection of the bills of mortality for 1665, entitled
"London's Dreadful Visitation," and a pamphlet by the Rev. Thomas
Vincent, "God's Terrible Voice in the City," printed in 1667, De Foe
largely availed himself in writing his vivid but unreliable "Journal of
the Plague Year," which first saw the light in 1722.] The king had,
on outbreak of the distemper, shown solicitude for his citizens by
summoning a privy council, when a committee of peers was formed for
"Prevention and Spreading of the Infection." Under their orders the
College of Physicians drew up "Certain necessary Directions for the
Prevention and Cure of the Plague, with Divers remedies for small
Change," which were printed in pamphlet form, and widely distributed
amongst the people. [We learn that at this time the College was stored
with "men of learning, virtue, and probity, nothing acquainted with
the little arts of getting a name by plotting against the honesty and
credulity of the people." The prescriptions given by this worthy body
were consequently received with a simple faith which later and more
sceptical generations might deny them. Perhaps the most remarkable of
these directions, given under the heading of "Medicines External," was
the following: "Pull off the feathers from the tails of living cocks,
hens, pigeons, or chickens, and holding their bills, hold them hard to
the botch or swelling, and so keep them at that part until they die, and
by that means draw out the poison. It is good to apply a cupping glass,
or embers in a dish, with a handful of sorrel upon the embers."]

The lord mayor, having likewise the welfare of the people at heart,
"conceived and published" rules to be observed, and orders to be obeyed,
by them during this visitation. These directed the appointment of two
examiners for every parish, who were bound to discover those who were
sick, and inquire into the nature of their illness: and finding
persons afflicted by plague, they, with the members of their family
and domestics, were to be confined in their houses. These were to be
securely locked outside, and guarded day and night by watchmen,
whose duty it should be to prevent persons entering or leaving those
habitations; as likewise to perform such offices as were required, such
as conveying medicines and food. And all houses visited by the distemper
were to be forthwith marked on the door by a red cross a foot long, with
the words LORD HAVE MERCY UPON US set close over the same sacred sign.
Female searchers, "such as are of honest reputation, and of the best
sort as can be got of the kind," were selected that they might report
of what disease people died; such women not being permitted during this
visitation to use any public work or employment, or keep shop or stall,
or wash linen for the people. Nurses to attend the afflicted deserted
by their friends were also appointed. And inasmuch as multitudes of idle
rogues and wandering beggars swarming the city were a great means
of spreading disease, the constables had orders not to suffer their
presence in the streets. And dogs and cats, being domestic animals, apt
to run from house to house, and carry infection in their fur and hair,
an order was made that they should be killed, and an officer nominated
to see it carried into execution. It was computed that, in accordance
with this edict, forty thousand dogs, and five times that number of
cats, were massacred.

All plays bear-baitings, exhibitions, and games were forbidden; as were
likewise "all public feasting, and particularly by the companies of
the city, and dinners at taverns, alehouses, and other places of common
entertainment; and the money thereby spared, be employed for the benefit
and relief of the poor visited with the infection." Pest-houses were
opened at Tothill Fields, Westminster, and at Bunhill Fields, near Old
Street, for reception of the sick: and indeed every possible remedy
calculated to check the disease was adopted. Some of these, though
considered necessary to the well-being of the community, were by many
citizens regarded as hardships, more especially the rule which related
to closing of infected houses.

The misery endured by those in health suffering such confinement, was
scarcely less than that realized by the afflicted. And fear making way
for disease, it frequently occurred a whole family, when confined
with one infected member, speedily became stricken by plague, and
consequently overtaken by death. It therefore happened that many
attempts were made by those in health to escape incarceration. In some
cases they bribed, and in others ill-treated the watchmen: one of whom
was actually blown up by gunpowder in Coleman Street, that those he
guarded might flee unmolested. Again, it chanced that strong men,
rendered desperate when brought face to face with loathsome death,
lowered themselves from windows of their houses in sight of the watch,
whom they threatened with instant death if they cried out or stirred.

The apprehension of the sick, who were in most cases deserted by their
friends, was increased tenfold by the practices of public nurses:
for being hardened to affliction by nature of their employment, and
incapable of remorse for crime by reason of their vileness, they were
guilty of many barbarous usages. "These wretches," says Dr. Hodges, "out
of greediness to plunder the dead, would strangle their patients, and
charge it to the distemper in their throats. Others would secretly
convey the pestilential taint from sores of the infected to those who
were well; and nothing indeed deterred these abandoned miscreants from
prosecuting their avaricious purposes by all methods their wickedness
could invent; who, although they were without witnesses to accuse them,
yet it is not doubted but divine vengeance will overtake such wicked
barbarities with due punishment. Nay, some were remarkably struck from
heaven in the perpetration of their crimes; and one particularly amongst
many, as she was leaving the house of a family, all dead, loaded with
her robberies, fell down lifeless under her burden in the street. And
the case of a worthy citizen was very remarkable, who, being suspected
dying by his nurse, was beforehand stripped by her; but recovering
again, he came a second time into the world naked."

But notwithstanding all precautions and care taken by the Duke of
Albemarle and the worthy lord mayor, the dreadful pestilence spread with
alarming rapidity; as may be judged from the fact that the number who
died in the first week of June amounted to forty-three, whilst during
the last week of that month two hundred and sixty-seven persons were
carried to their graves. From the 4th of July to the 11th, seven hundred
and fifty-five deaths were chronicled; the following eight days the
death rate rose to one thousand and eighty-two; whilst the ensuing week
this high figure was increased by over eight hundred. For the month of
August, the mortality bill recorded seventeen thousand and thirty-six
deaths; and during September, twenty-six thousand two hundred and thirty
persons perished in the city.

The whole British nation was stricken with consternation at the fate of
the capital. "In some houses," says Dr. Hodges, speaking from personal
experience, "carcases lay waiting for burial, and in others were persons
in their last agonies. In one room might be heard dying groans, in an
other the ravings of delirium, and not far off relations and friends
bewailing both their loss and the dismal prospect of their own sudden
departure. Death was the sure midwife to all children, and infants
passed immediately from the womb to the grave. Some of the infected run
about staggering like drunken men, and fall and expire in the streets;
whilst others lie half dead and comatose, but never to be waked but by
the last trumpet." The plague had indeed encompassed the walls of the
city, and poured in upon it without mercy. A heavy stifling atmosphere,
vapours by day and blotting out all traces of stars and sky by night,
hovered like a palpable shape of dire vengeance above the doomed city.
During many weeks "there was a general calm and serenity, as if both
wind and rain had been expelled the kingdom, so that there was not so
much as to move a flame." The oppressive silence of brooding death,
unbroken now even by the passing bell, weighed stupor-like upon the
wretched survivors. The thoroughfares were deserted, grass sprang
green upon side-paths and steps of dwellings; and the broad street in
Whitechapel became like unto a field. Most houses bore upon their doors
the dread sign of the red cross, with the supplication for mercy written
above. Some of the streets were barricaded at both ends, the inhabitants
either having fled into the country or been carried to their graves;
and it was estimated in all that over seven thousand dwellings were
deserted. All commerce, save that dealing with the necessaries of life,
was abandoned; the parks forsaken and locked, the Inns of Court closed,
and the public marts abandoned. A few of the church doors were opened,
and some gathered within that they might humbly beseech pardon for the
past, and ask mercy in the present. But as the violence of the distemper
increased, even the houses of God were forsaken; and those who
ventured abroad walked in the centre of the street, avoiding contact or
conversation with friend or neighbour; each man dreading and avoiding
his fellow, lest he should be to him the harbinger of death. And all
carried rue and wormwood in their hands, and myrrh and zedoary in their
mouths, as protection against infection. Now were the faces of all pale
with apprehension, none knowing when the fatal malady might carry them
hence; and moreover sad, as became those who stand in the presence of

And such sights were to be witnessed day after day as made the heart
sick. "It would be endless," says the Rev. Thomas Vincent, "to speak
what we have seen and heard; of some, in their frenzy, rising out of
their beds and leaping about their rooms; others crying and roaring
at their windows; some coming forth almost naked and running into the
streets; strange things have others spoken and done when the disease was
upon them: but it was very sad to hear of one, who being sick alone,
and it is like frantic, burnt himself in his bed. And amongst other
sad spectacles methought two were very affecting: one of a woman coming
alone and weeping by the door where I lived, with a little coffin under
her arm, carrying it to the new churchyard. I did judge that it was the
mother of the child, and that all the family besides was dead, and she
was forced to coffin up and bury with her own hands this her last dead
child. Another was of a man at the corner of the Artillery Wall, that
as I judge, through the dizziness of his head with the disease, which
seized upon him there, had dashed his face against the wall; and when I
came by he lay hanging with his bloody face over the rails, and bleeding
upon the ground; within half an hour he died in that place."

And as the pestilence increased, it was found impossible to provide
coffins or even separate graves for those who perished. And therefore,
in order to bury the deceased, great carts passed through the streets
after sunset, attended by linkmen and preceded by a bellman crying in
weird and solemn tones, "Bring out your dead." At the intimation of the
watchmen stationed before houses bearing red crosses upon their
doors, the sad procession would tarry, When coffinless, and oftentimes
shroudless, rigid, loathsome, and malodorous bodies were hustled into
the carts with all possible speed. Then once more the melancholy cortege
took its way adown the dark, deserted street, the yellow glare of links
falling on the ghastly burden they accompanied, the dirge-like call of
the bellman sounding on the ears of the living like a summons from
the dead. And so, receiving additional freight upon its way, the cart
proceeded to one of the great pits dug in the parish churchyards of
Aldgate and Whitechapel, or in Finsbury Fields close by the Artillery
Ground. These, measuring about forty feet in length, eighteen in
breadth, and twenty in depth, were destined to receive scores of bodies
irrespective of creed or class. The carts being brought to these dark
and weirdsome gulphs, looking all the blacker from the flickering lights
of candles and garish gleams of lanterns placed beside them, the bodies,
without rite or ceremony, were shot into them, and speedily covered with
clay. For the accomplishment of this sad work night was found too brief.
And what lent additional horror to the circumstances of these burials
was, that those engaged in this duty would occasionally drop lifeless
during their labour. So that it sometimes happened the dead-carts were
found without driver, linkman, or bell-man. And it was estimated that
the parish of Stepney alone lost one hundred and sixteen gravediggers
and sextons within that year.

During the month of September, the pestilence raged with increased fury;
and it now seemed as if the merciless distemper would never cease whilst
a single inhabitant remained in the city. The lord mayor, having found
all remedies to stay its progress utterly fail, by advice of the
medical faculty, ordered that great fires should be kindled in certain
districts, by way of purifying the air, Accordingly, two hundred
chaldrons of coal, at four pounds a chaldron, were devoted to this
purpose. At first the fires were with great difficulty made to burn,
through the scarcity, it was believed, of oxygen in the atmosphere; but
once kindled, they continued blazing for three days and three nights,
when a heavy downpour of rain falling they were extinguished. The
following night death carried off four thousand souls, and the
experiment of these cleansing fires was discontinued. All through this
month fear and tribulation continued; the death rate, from the 5th of
September to the 3rd of October, amounting to twenty-four thousand one
hundred and seventy-one.

During October, the weather being cool and dry, the pestilence gave
promise of rapid decrease. Hope came to the people, and was received
with eager greeting. Once more windows were unshuttered, doors were
opened, and the more venturous walked abroad. The great crisis had
passed. In the middle of the month Mr. Pepys travelled on foot to the
Tower, and records his impressions. "Lord," he says, "how empty the
streets are and melancholy, so many poor sick people in the streets full
of sores; and so many sad stories overheard as I walk, everybody talking
of this dead, and that man sick, and so many in this place, and so many
in that. And they tell me that in Westminster there is never a physician
and but one apothecary left, all being dead; but that there are great
hopes of a decrease this week. God send it."

The while, trade being discontinued, those who had lived by commerce
or labour were supported by charity. To this good purpose the king
contributed a thousand pounds per week, and Dr. Sheldon, Archbishop of
Canterbury--who remained at Lambeth during the whole time--by letters
to his bishops, caused great sums to be collected throughout the country
and remitted to him for this laudable purpose. Nor did those of position
or wealth fail in responding to calls made upon them at this time;
their contributions being substantial enough to permit the lord mayor
to distribute upwards of one hundred thousand pounds a week amongst the
poor and afflicted for several months.

In October the death rate fell to nine thousand four hundred and
forty-four; in November to three thousand four hundred and forty-nine;
and in December to less than one thousand. Therefore, after a period of
unprecedented suffering, the people took courage once more, for life
is dear to all men. And those who had fled the plague-stricken city
returned to find a scene of desolation, greater in its misery than words
can describe. But the tide of human existence having once turned, the
capital gradually resumed its former appearance. Shops which had been
closed were opened afresh; houses whose inmates had been carried to the
grave became again centres of activity; the sound of traffic was heard
in streets long silent; church bells called the citizens to prayer;
marts were crowded; and people wore an air of cheerfulness becoming the
survivors of a calamity. And so all things went on as before.

The mortality bills computed the number of burials which took place in
London during this year at ninety-seven thousand three hundred and
six, of which sixty-eight thousand five hundred find ninety-six were
attributed to the plague. This estimate has been considered by all
historians as erroneous. For on the first appearance of the distemper,
the number of deaths set down was far below that which truth warranted,
in order that the citizens might not be affrighted; and when it was at
its height no exact account of those shifted from the dead-carts into
the pits was taken. Moreover, many were buried by their friends in
fields and gardens. Lord Clarendon, an excellent authority, states
that though the weekly bills reckoned the number of deaths at about one
hundred thousand, yet "many who could compute very well, concluded that
there were in truth double that number who died; and that in one week,
when the bill mentioned only six thousand, there had in truth fourteen
thousand died."


  A cry of fire by night.--Fright and confusion.--The lord mayor is
  unmanned.--Spread of the flames.--Condition of the streets.--Distressful
  scenes.--Destruction of the Royal Exchange.--Efforts of the king and
  Duke of York.--Strange rumours and alarms.--St. Paul's is doomed.--The
  flames checked.--A ruined city as seen by day and night.--Wretched state
  of the people.--Investigation into the origin of the fire.--A new city

Scarcely had the city of London recovered from the dire effects of
the plague, ere a vast fire laid it waste. It happened on the 2nd of
September, 1666, that at two o'clock in the morning, the day being
Sunday, smoke and flames were seen issuing from the shop of a baker
named Faryner, residing in Pudding Lane, close by Fish Street, in the
lower part of the city. The house being built of wood, and coated with
pitch, as were likewise those surrounding it, and moreover containing
faggots, dried logs, and other combustible materials, the fire spread
with great rapidity: so that in a short time not only the baker's
premises, but the homesteads which stood next it on either side were in

Accordingly, the watchman's lusty cry of "Fire, fire, fire!" which had
roused the baker and his family in good time to save their lives, was
now shouted down the streets with consternation, startling sleepers from
their dreams, and awaking them to a sense of peril. Thereon they rose
promptly from their beds, and hastily throwing on some clothes, rushed
out to rescue their neighbours' property from destruction, and subdue
the threatening conflagration.

And speedily was heard the tramp of many feet hurrying to the scene, and
the shouting of anxious voices crying for help; and presently the
bells of St. Margaret's church close by, ringing with wild uneven peals
through the darkness, aroused all far and near to knowledge of the
disaster. For already the flames, fanned by a high easterly wind, and
fed by the dry timber of the picturesque old dwellings huddled close
together, had spread in four directions.

One of these being Thames Street, the consequence was terrible, for
the shops and warehouses of this thoroughfare containing inflammable
materials, required for the shipping trade, such as oil, pitch, tar, and
rosin, the houses at one side the street were immediately wrapped, from
basement to garret, in sheets of angry flame. And now flaunting its
yellow light skywards, as if exulting in its strength, and triumphing
in its mastery over men's efforts, the fire rushed to the church of St.
Magnus, a dark solid edifice standing at the foot of London Bridge. The
frightened citizens concluded the conflagration must surely end here; or
at least that whilst it endeavoured to consume a dense structure such
as this, they might succeed in subduing its force; but their hopes were
vain. At first the flames shot upwards to the tower of the building,
but not gaining hold, retreated as if to obtain fresh strength for new
efforts; and presently darting forward again, they seized the woodwork
of the belfry windows. A few minutes later the church blazed at every
point, and was in itself a colossal conflagration.

From this the fire darted to the bridge, burning the wooden houses built
upon it, and the water machines underneath, and likewise creeping up
Thames Street, on that side which was yet undemolished. By this time
the bells of many churches rang out in sudden fright, as if appealing to
heaven for mercy on behalf of the people; and the whole east end of
the town rose up in alarm. The entire city seemed threatened with
destruction, for the weather having long been dry and warm, prepared the
homesteads for their fate; and it was noted some of them, when scorched
by the approaching fire, ignited before the flames had time to reach

Sir Thomas Bludworth, the lord mayor, now arrived in great haste, but so
amazed was he at the sight he beheld, and so bewildered by importunities
of those who surrounded him, that he was powerless to act. Indeed, his
incapacity to direct, and inability to command, as well as his lack of
moral courage, have been heavily and frequently blamed. Bring a weak
man, fearful of outstepping his authority, he at first forebore pulling
down houses standing in the pathway of the flames, as suggested to him,
a means that would assuredly have prevented their progress; but when
urged to this measure would reply, he "durst not, without the consent of
the owners." And when at last, after great destruction had taken place,
word was brought him from the king to "spare no house, but pull them
down everywhere before the fire," he cried out "like a fainting woman,"
as Pepys recounts, "Lord! what can I do? I am spent; people will not
obey me."

Meanwhile, great bodies of the citizens of all classes had been at work;
some upon the cumbrous engines, others carrying water, others levelling
houses, but all their endeavours seemed powerless to quell the raging
flames. And it was notable when first the pipes in the streets were
opened, no water could be found, whereon a messenger was sent to the
works at Islington, in order to turn on the cocks, so that much time was
lost in this manner. All through Sunday morning the flames extended far
and wide, and in a few hours three hundred houses were reduced to ashes.
Not at midday, nor yet at night, did they give promise of abatement. The
strong easterly wind continuing to blow, the conflagration worked its
way to Cannon Street, from thence gradually encompassing the dwellings
which lay between that thoroughfare and the Thames, till the whole
seemed one vast plain of raging fire.

The streets now presented a scene of the uttermost confusion and
distress. The affrighted citizens, whose dwellings were momentarily
threatened with destruction, hurried to and fro, striving to save those
of their families who by reason of infancy, age or illness were unable
to help themselves. Women on the eve of child-birth were carried from
their beds; mothers with infants clinging to their naked breasts fled
from homes which would shelter them no more; the decrepit were borne
away on the shoulders of the strong. The narrow thoroughfares were
moreover obstructed by furniture dragged from houses, or lowered from
windows with a reckless speed that oftentimes destroyed what it sought
to preserve. Carts, drays, and horses laden with merchandise jostled
each other in their hurried way towards the fields outside the city
walls. Men young and vigorous crushed forward with beds or trunks upon
their backs; children laboured under the weight of bundles, or rolled
barrels of oil, wine, or spirits before them. And the air, rendered
suffocating by smoke and flame, was moreover confused by the crackling
of consuming timber, the thunder of falling walls, the crushing of
glass, the shrieks of women, and the imprecations of men.

And those who lived near the waterside, or in houses on the bridges,
hurried their goods and chattels into boats, barges, and lighters,
in which they likewise took refuge. For the destruction of wharfs and
warehouses, containing stores of most inflammable nature, was brief and
desperate. The Thames, now blood-red from reflection of the fierce sky,
was covered with craft of all imaginable shape and size. Showers of
sparks blown by the high wind fell into the water with hissing sounds,
or on the clothes and faces of the people with disastrous and painful
effects; and the smoke and heat were hard to bear. And it was remarked
that flocks of pigeons, which for generations had found shelter in the
eaves and roofs of wooden houses by the riverside, were loath to leave
their habitations; and probably fearing to venture afar by reason of
the unwonted aspect of the angry sky, lingered on the balconies and
abutments of deserted houses, until in some cases, the flames enwrapping
them, they fell dead into the waters below.

On Sunday evening Gracechurch Street was on fire; and the flames spread
onwards till they reached, and in their fury consumed, the Three Cranes
in the Vintry. Night came, but darkness had fled from the city; and
for forty miles round all was luminous. And there were many who in the
crimson hue of the heavens, beheld an evidence of God's wrath at the
sins of the nation, which it was now acknowledged were many and great.

Throughout Sunday night the fire grew apace, and those who, in the
morning had carried their belongings to parts of the city which they
believed would by distance ensure safety, were now obliged to move
them afresh, the devastation extending for miles. Therefore many were
compelled to renew their labours, thereby suffering further fatigue; and
they now trusted to no protection for their property save that which
the open fields afforded. Monday morning came and found the flames yet
raging. Not only Gracechurch Street, but Lombard Street, and part of
Fenchurch street, were on fire. Stately mansions, comfortable homes,
warehouses of great name, banks of vast wealth, were reduced to charred
and blackened walls or heaps of smoking ruins. Buildings had been pulled
down, but now too late to render service; for the insatiable fire, yet
fed by a high wind, had everywhere marched over the dried woodwork and
mortar as it lay upon the ground, and communicated itself to the next
block of buildings; so that its circumvention was regarded as almost an

During Monday the flames attacked Cornhill, and then commenced to
demolish the Royal Exchange. Having once made an entrance in this
stately building it revelled in triumph; climbing up the walls, roaring
along the courts and galleries, and sending through the broken windows
volleys of smoke and showers of sparks, which threatened to suffocate
and consume those who approached. Then the roof fell with a mighty
crash, which seemed for a time to subdue the powerful conflagration; the
walls cracked, parted, and fell; statues of kings and queens were flung
from their niches; and in a couple of hours this building, which had
been the pride and glory of British Merchants, was a blackened ruin.

The citizens were now in a state of despair. Upwards of ten thousand
houses were in a blaze, the fire extending, according to Evelyn, two
miles in length and one in breadth, and the smoke reaching near fifty
miles in length. Mansions, churches, hospitals, halls, and schools
crumbled into dust as if at blighting touch of some most potent and
diabolical magician. Quite hopeless now of quenching the flames,
bewildered by loss, and overcome by terror, the citizens, abandoning
themselves to despair, made no further effort to conquer this
inappeasable fire; but crying aloud in their distraction, behaved as
those who had lost their wits. The king and the Duke of York, who on
Sunday had viewed the conflagration from the Thames, now alarmed at
prospect of the whole capital being laid waste, rode into the city,
and by their presence, coolness and example roused the people to fresh
exertions. Accordingly, citizens and soldiers worked with renewed energy
and courage; whilst his majesty and his brother, the courtiers and the
lord mayor, mixed freely with the crowd, commanding and directing them
in their labours.

But now a new terror rose up amongst the citizens, for news spread that
the Dutch and French--with whom England was then at war--and moreover
the papists, whom the people then abhorred, had conspired to destroy
the capital. And the suddenness with which the flames had appeared in
various places, and the rapidity with which they spread, leading the
distracted inhabitants to favour this report, a strong desire for
immediate revenge took possession of their hearts.

Accordingly all foreigners were laid hold of, kicked, beaten, and abused
by infuriated mobs, from which they were rescued only to be flung into
prison. And this conduct was speedily extended to the catholics, even
when such were known to be faithful and well-approved good citizens.
For though at first it spread as a rumour, it was now received as a
certainty that they, in obedience to the wily and most wicked Jesuits,
had determined to lay waste an heretical city. Nor were there wanting
many ready to bear witness they had seen these dreaded papists fling
fire-balls into houses of honest citizens, and depart triumphing in
their fiendish deeds. So that when they ventured abroad they were beset
by great multitudes, and their lives were imperilled. And news of this
distraction, which so forcibly swayed the people, reaching the king, he
speedily despatched the members of his privy council to several quarters
of the city, that in person they might guard such of his subjects as
stood in danger.

Lord Hollis and Lord Ashley were assigned Newgate Market and the streets
that lie around, as parts where they were to station themselves. And
it happened that riding near the former place they saw a vast number of
people gathered together, shouting with great violence, and badly using
one who stood in their midst. Whereon they hastened towards the spot and
found the ill-treated man to be of foreign aspect. Neither had he hat,
cloak, nor sword; his face was covered with blood, his jerkin was torn
in pieces, and his person was bedaubed by mud. And on examination it
was found he was unable to speak the English tongue; but Lord Hollis,
entering into conversation with him in the French language, ascertained
that he was a servant of the Portuguese ambassador, and knew not of what
he was accused, or why he had been maltreated.

Hereon a citizen of good standing pressed forward and alleged he had
truly seen this man put his hand in his pocket and throw a fire-ball
into a shop, upon which the house immediately took flame; whereon, being
on the other side of the street, he called aloud that the people might
stop this abominable villain. Then the citizens had seized upon him,
taking away his sword, and used him according to their will. My Lord
Hollis explaining this to the foreigner, he was overcome by amazement
at the charge; and when asked what he had thrown into the house, made
answer he had not flung anything. But he remembered well, whilst walking
in the street, he saw a piece of bread upon the ground, which he, as was
the custom in his country took up. Afterwards he laid it upon a shelf in
a neighbouring house, which being close by, my Lords Hollis and Ashley,
followed by a dense crowd, conducted him thither, and found the bread
laid upon a board as he had stated. It was noted the next house but one
was on fire, and on inquiry it was ascertained that the worthy citizen,
seeing a foreigner place something inside a shop without tarrying, and
immediately after perceiving a dwelling in flames, which in his haste he
took to be the same, he had charged the man with commission of this
foul deed. But even though many were convinced of his innocence, my Lord
Hollis concluded the stranger's life would be in safer keeping if he
were committed to prison, which was accordingly done.

Meanwhile the fire continued; and on Monday night and Tuesday raged with
increasing violence. The very heart of the city was now eaten into by
this insatiable monster: Soper Lane, Bread Street, Friday Street, Old
Change, and Cheapside being in one blaze. It was indeed a spectacle to
fill all beholding it with consternation; but that which followed
was yet more terrible, for already St. Paul's Cathedral was doomed to

Threatened on one side by the flames devastating Cheapside, and on the
other from those creeping steadily up from Blackfriars to this great
centre, it was now impossible to save the venerable church, which Evelyn
terms "one of the most ancient pieces of early Christian piety in the
world." Seen by this fierce light, and overhung by a crimson sky, every
curve of its dark outline, every stone of its pillars and abutments,
every column of its incomparable portico, stood clearly defined, so that
never had it looked so stately and magnificent, so vast and majestic, as
now when beheld for the last time.

Too speedily the fire advanced, watched by sorrowful eyes; but even
before it had reached the scaffolding now surrounding the building,
the vaulted roof, ignited by showers of sparks, burst into flames. Then
followed a scene unspeakably grand, yet melancholy beyond all telling.
In a few moments a pale yellow light had crept along the parapets,
sending faint clouds of smoke upwards, as if more forcibly marking the
course of destruction. Then came the crackling, hissing sounds of timber
yielding to the fire, and soon a great sheet of lead which covered the
roof, and was said to measure six acres, melting by degrees, down came
on every side a terrible rain of liquid fire that seamed and burned the
ground, and carried destruction with it in its swift course towards the

And now, by reason of the fearful heat, great projections of Portland
stone, cornices, and capitals of columns, flew off before the fire had
time to reach them. Windows melted in their frames, pillars fell to the
ground, ironwork bent as wax; nay, the very pavements around glowed
so that neither man nor horse dared tread upon them. And the flames,
gradually gaining ground, danced fantastically up and down the
scaffolding, and covered the edifice as with one blaze; whilst inside
transom beams were snapped asunder, rafters fell with destruction, and
the fire roaring through chapels and aisles as in a great furnace, could
be heard afar. And that which had been a Christian shrine was now, a
smoking ruin.

Raging onward in their fierce career, the flames darted towards such
buildings in the neighbourhood as had been previously untouched, so that
Paternoster Row, Newgate Street, the Old Bailey and Ludgate Hill
were soon in course of destruction. And from the latter spot the
conflagration, urged by the wind, rapidly rushed onwards towards Fleet
Street. On the other hand, it extended from Cheapside to Ironmongers'
Lane, Old Jewry, Lawrence Lane, Milk Street, Wood Street, Gutter Lane,
and Foster Lane; and again spreading from Newgate Street, it surrounded
and destroyed Christ Church, burned through St. Martin's-le-Grand
towards Aldgate, and threatened to continue its triumphant march to the

For several miles nothing but raging fire and smoking ruins was visible,
for desolation had descended on the city. It was now feared the flames
would reach the Palace of Whitehall, and extend towards Westminster
Abbey, a consideration which caused much alarm to his majesty, who
prized the sacred fane exceedingly. And now the king was determined the
orders he had already issued should be obeyed, and that houses standing
in direct path of the fire should be demolished by gunpowder; so that,
a greater gap being effected than any previously made by pulling them
down, the conflagration might have no further material wherewith to
strengthen and feed its further progress.

This plan, Evelyn states, had been proposed by some stout seamen early
enough to have saved nearly the whole city; "but this some tenacious and
avaricious men, aldermen, etc., would not permit, because their houses
would have been the first." Now, however, this remedy was tried, and
with greater despatch, because the fire threatened the Tower and the
powder magazine it contained. And if the flames once reached this,
London Bridge would assuredly be destroyed, the vessels in the river
torn and sunk, and incalculable damage to life and property effected.

Accordingly Tower Street, which had already become ignited, was, under
supervision of the king, blown up in part, and the fire happily brought
to an end by this means in that part of the town. Moreover, on Wednesday
morning the east wind, which had continued high from Sunday night, now
subsided, so that the flames lost much of their vehemence, and by means
of explosions were more easily mastered at Leadenhall and in Holborn,
and likewise at the Temple, to which places they had spread during
Wednesday and Thursday.

During these latter days, the king and the Duke of York betrayed great
vigilance, and laboured with vast activity; the latter especially,
riding from post to post, by his example inciting those whose courage
had deserted them, and by his determination overcoming destruction. On
Thursday the dread conflagration, after raging for five consecutive days
and nights, was at length conquered.

On Friday morning the sun rose like a ball of crimson fire above a scene
of blackness, ruin, and desolation. Whole streets were levelled to the
ground, piles of charred stones marked where stately churches had stood,
smoke rose in clouds from smouldering embers. With sorrowful hearts
many citizens traversed the scene of desolation that day; amongst others
Pepys and Evelyn. The latter recounts that "the ground and air, smoke
and fiery vapour, continu'd so intense, that my haire was almost sing'd,
and my feete unsuffurably surbated. The people who now walk'd about ye
ruines appear'd like men in some dismal desert, or rather in some greate
citty laid waste by a cruel enemy; to which was added that stench that
came from some poore creatures' bodies, beds, and other combustible

It would have been impossible to trace the original course of the
streets, but that some gable, pinnacle, or portion of walls, of
churches, halls, or mansions, indicated where they had stood. The
narrower thoroughfares were completely blocked by rubbish; massive
iron chains, then used to prevent traffic at night in the streets, were
melted, as were likewise iron gates of prisons, and the hinges of
strong doors. Goods stored away in cellars and subterranean passages of
warehouses yet smouldered, emitting foul odours; wells were completely
choked, fountains were dried at their sources. The statues of monarchs
which had adorned the Exchange, were smashed; that of its founder, Sir
Thomas Gresham, alone remaining entire. The ruins of St. Paul's, with
its walls standing black and cheerless, presented in itself a most
melancholy spectacle. Its pillars were embedded in ashes, its cornices
irretrievably destroyed, its great bell reduced to a shapeless mass of
metal; whilst its general air of desolation was heightened by the fact
that a few monuments, which had escaped destruction, rose abruptly from
amidst the charred DEBRIS.

But if the ruins of the capital looked sad by day, their appearance was
more appalling when seen by light of the moon, which rose nightly during
the week following this great calamity. From the city gates, standing
gaunt, black, and now unguarded, to the Temple, the level waste seemed
sombre as a funeral pall; whilst the Thames, stripped of wharves and
warehouses, quaintly gabled homes, and comfortable inns--wont to cast
pleasant lights and shadows on its surface--now swept past the blackened
ruins a melancholy river of white waters.

In St. George's Fields, Moorfields, and far as Highgate for several
miles, citizens of all degrees, to the number of two hundred thousand,
had gathered: sleeping in the open fields, or under canvas tents, or in
wooden sheds which they hurriedly erected. Some there were amongst them
who had been used to comfort and luxury, but who were now without bed or
board, or aught to cover them save the clothes in which they had hastily
dressed when fleeing from the fire. And to many it seemed as if they had
only been saved from one calamity to die by another: for they had
nought wherewith to satisfy their hunger, yet had too much pride to seek

And whilst yet wildly distracted by their miserable situation, weary
from exhaustion, and nervous from lack of repose, a panic arose in their
midst which added much to their distress. For suddenly news was spread
that the French, Dutch and English papists were marching on them,
prepared to cut their throats. At which, broken-spirited as they were,
they rose up, and leaving such goods that they had saved, rushed towards
Westminster to seek protection from their imaginary foes. On this,
the king sought to prove the falsity of their alarm, and with infinite
difficulty persuaded them to return to the fields: whence he despatched
troops of soldiers, whose presence helped to calm their fears.

And the king having, moreover, tender compassion for their wants,
speedily sought to supply them. He therefore summoned a council that
it might devise means of relief; and as a result, it published a
proclamation ordering that bread and all other provisions, such as could
be furnished, should be daily and constantly brought, not only to the
markets formerly in use, but also to Clerkenwell, Islington, Finsbury
Fields, Mile End Green, and Ratcliffe, for greater convenience of
the citizens. For those who were unable to buy provisions, the king
commanded the victualler of his navy to send bread into Moorfields, and
distribute it amongst them. And as divers distressed people had saved
some of their goods, of which they knew not where to dispose, he ordered
that churches, chapels, schools, and such like places in and around
Westminster, should be free and open to receive and protect them.
He likewise directed that all cities and towns should, without
contradiction or opposition, receive the citizens and permit them
free exercise of their manual labours: he promising, when the present
exigency had passed away, to take care the said persons should be no
burden to such towns as received them.

The people were therefore speedily relieved. Many of them found refuge
with their friends and relatives in the country, and others sought homes
in the districts of Westminster and Southwark: so that in four days from
the termination of the fire, there was scarce a person remaining in the
fields, where such numbers had taken refuge.

The first hardships consequent to the calamity having passed away,
people were anxious to trace the cause of their sufferings, which they
were unwilling to consider accidental. A rumour therefore sprang up,
that the great fire resulted from a wicked plot, hatched by Jesuits,
for the destruction of an heretical city. At this the king was sorely
troubled; for though there was no evidence which led him to place faith
in the report, yet a great body of the citizens and many members of
his council held it true. Therefore, in order to appease such doubts as
arose in his mind, and likewise to satisfy the people, he appointed his
privy council to sit morning and evening to inquire into the matter, and
examine evidences set forth against those who had been charged with the
outrage and cast into prison during the conflagration.

And in order that the investigation might be conducted with greater
rigour he sent into the country for the lord chief justice, who was
dreaded by all for his unflinching severity. The lord chancellor, in his
account of these transactions, assures us many of the witnesses who gave
evidence against those indicted with firing the capital "were produced
as if their testimony would remove all doubts, but made such senseless
relations of what they had been told, without knowing the condition of
the persons who told them, or where to find them, that it was a hard
matter to forbear smiling at their declarations." Amongst those examined
was one Roger Hubert, who accused himself of having deliberately set
the city on fire. This man, then in his twenty-fifth year, was son of a
watchmaker residing in Rouen. Hubert had practised the same trade both
in that town and in London, and was believed by his fellow workmen to
be demented. When brought before the chief justice and privy council,
Hubert with great coolness stated he had set the first house on fire:
for which act he had been paid a year previously in Paris. When asked
who had hired him to accomplish this evil deed, he replied he did not
know, for he had never seen the man before: and when further questioned
regarding the sum he had received, he declared it was but one pistole,
but he had been promised five pistoles more when he should have done
his work. These ridiculous answers, together with some contradictory
statements he made, inclined many persons, amongst whom was the chief
justice, to doubt his confession. Later on in his examinations, he was
asked if he knew where the house had stood which he set on fire, to
which he replied in the affirmative, and on being taken into the city,
pointed out the spot correctly.

In the eyes of many this was regarded as proof of his guilt; though
others stated that, having lived in the city, he must necessarily become
acquainted with the position of the baker's shop. Opinion was therefore
somewhat divided regarding him. The chief justice told the king "that
all his discourse was so disjointed that he did not believe him guilty."
Yet having voluntarily accused himself of a monstrous deed, and being
determined as it seemed to rid himself of life, he was condemned to
death and speedily executed.

Lord Clarendon says: "Neither the judges nor any present at the trial
did believe him guilty; but that he was a poor distracted wretch, weary
of his life, and chose to part with it in this way. Certain it is that
upon the strictest examination that could be afterwards made by the
king's command, and then by the diligence of the House, that upon
the jealousy and rumour made a committee, that was very diligent and
solicitous to make that discovery, there was never any probable evidence
(that poor creature's only excepted) that there was any other cause of
that woful fire than the displeasure of God Almighty: the first accident
of the beginning in a baker's house, where there was so great a stock of
faggots, and the neighbourhood of such combustible matter, of pitch and
rosin, and the like, led it in an instant from house to house, through
Thames Street, with the agitation of so terrible a wind to scatter and
disperse it."

But belief that the dreaded papists had set fire to the city, lingered
in the minds of many citizens. When the city was rebuilt, this opinion
found expression in an inscription cut over the doorway of a house
opposite the spot where the fire began, which ran as follows:

"Here, by the permission of heaven, hell broke loose on this protestant
city from the malicious hearts of barbarous papists, by the hand of
their agent Hubert, who confessed, and on the ruins of this place
declared the fact, for which he was hanged. Erected in the mayoralty of
Sir Patience Ward, Knight."

The loss caused by this dreadful conflagration was estimated at ten
million sterling. According to a certificate of Jonas Moore and Ralph
Gatrix, surveyors appointed to examine the ruins, the fire overrun
373 acres within the walls, burning 13,200 houses, 89 parish churches,
numerous chapels, the Royal Exchange, Custom House, Guildhall, Blackwell
Hall, St. Paul's Cathedral, Bridewell, fifty-two halls of the city
companies, and three city gates.

As speedily as might be, the king and his parliament then sitting at
Oxford, sought to restore the city on a scale vastly superior to its
former condition. And the better to effect this object, an act of
parliament was passed that public buildings should be rebuilt with
public money, raised by a tax on coals; that the churches and the
cathedral of St. Paul's should be reconstructed from their foundations;
that bridges, gates and prisons should be built anew; the streets made
straight and regular, such as were steep made level, such as were narrow
made wide; and, moreover, that every house should be built with party
walls, such being of stone or brick, and all houses raised to equal
height in front.

And these rules being observed, a stately and magnificent city rose
phoenix-like from ruins of the old; so that there was naught to remind
the inhabitants of their great calamity save the Monument. This,
designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and built at a cost of fourteen
thousand five hundred pounds, was erected near where the fire broke out,
the better to perpetuate a memory of this catastrophe in the minds of
future generations, which purpose it fulfils unto this day.


  The court repairs to Oxford.--Lady Castlemaine's son.--Their majesties
  return to Whitehall.--The king quarrels with his mistress.--Miss Stuart
  contemplates marriage.--Lady Castlemaine attempts revenge.--Charles
  makes an unpleasant discovery.--The maid of honour elopes.--His majesty
  rows down the Thames.--Lady Castlemaine's intrigues.--Fresh quarrels at
  court.--The king on his knees.

The while such calamities befell the citizens, the king continued to
divert himself in his usual fashion. On the 29th of June, 1665, whilst
death strode apace through the capital, reaping full harvests as he
went, their majesties left Whitehall for Hampton Court, From here they
repaired to Salisbury, and subsequently to Oxford, where Charles took up
his residence in Christchurch, and the queen at Merton College.

Removed from harrowing scenes of ghastliness and distress, the court
made merry. Joined by fair women and gallant men, their majesties played
at bowls and tennis in the grassy meads of the college grounds; rode
abroad in great hawking parties; sailed through summer days upon the
smooth waters of the river Isis; and by night held revelry in the
massive-beamed oak-panelled halls, from which scarce five-score candles
served to chase all gloom.

It happened whilst life thus happily passed, at pleasant full-tide flow,
my Lady Castlemaine, who resided in the same college with her majesty,
gave birth on the 28th of December to another son, duly baptized George
Fitzroy, and subsequently created Duke of Northumberland. By this time,
the plague having subsided in the capital, and all danger of infection
passed away, his majesty was anxious to reach London, yet loth to leave
his mistress, whom he visited every morning, and to whom he exhibited
the uttermost tenderness. And his tardiness to return becoming
displeasing to the citizens, and they being aware of its cause, it was
whispered in taverns and cried in the streets, "The king cannot go away
till my Lady Castlemaine be ready to come along with him," which truth
was found offensive on reaching the royal ears.

Towards the end of January, 1666, he returned to Whitehall, and a month
later the queen, who had been detained by illness, joined him. Once more
the thread of life was taken up by the court at the point where it
had been broken, and woven into the motley web of its strange history.
Unwearied by time, unsatiated by familiarity, the king continued his
intrigue with the imperious Castlemaine, and with great longing likewise
made love to the beautiful Stuart. But yet his pursuit of pleasure
was not always attended by happiness; inasmuch as he found himself
continually involved in quarrels with the countess, which in turn
covered him with ridicule in the eyes of his courtiers, and earned him
contempt in the opinions of his subjects.

One of these disturbances, which occurred soon after his return from
Oxford, began at a royal drawing-room, in presence of the poor slighted
queen and ladies of the court. It happened in the course of conversation
her majesty remarked to the countess she feared the king had taken cold
by staying so late at her lodgings; to which speech my Lady Castlemaine
with some show of temper answered aloud, "he did not stay so late abroad
with her, for he went betimes thence, though he do not before one, two,
or three in the morning, but must stay somewhere else." The king, who
had entered the apartment whilst she was speaking, came up to her, and
displeased with the insinuations she expressed, declared she was a bold,
impertinent woman, and bade her begone from the court, and not return
until he sent for her. Accordingly she whisked from the drawing-room,
and drove at once to Pall Mall, where she hired apartments.

Her indignation at being addressed by Charles in such a manner before
the court, was sufficiently great to beget strong desires for revenge;
when she swore she would be even with him and print his letters to her
for public sport. In cooler moments, however, she abandoned this idea;
and in course of two or three days, not hearing from his majesty,
she despatched a message to him, not entreating pardon, but asking
permission to send for her furniture and belongings. To this the
monarch, who had begun to miss her presence and long for her return,
replied she must first come and view them; and then impatient for
reconciliation, he sought her, and they became friends once more. And by
way of sealing the bond of pacification, the king soon after agreed to
pay her debts, amounting to the sum of thirty thousand pounds, which had
been largely incurred by presents bestowed by her upon her lovers.

His majesty was not only rendered miserable by the constant caprices and
violent temper of the countess, but likewise by the virtue and coldness
Miss Stuart betrayed since her return from Oxford. The monarch was
sorely troubled to account for her bearing, and attributing it to
jealousy, sought to soothe her supposed uneasiness by increasing his
chivalrous attentions. Her change of behaviour, however, proceeded from
another cause. The fair Stuart, though childlike in manner, was shrewd
at heart; and was moreover guided invariably by her mother, a lady
who reaped wisdom from familiarity with courts. Therefore the maid of
honour, seeing she had given the world occasion to think she had lost
her virtue, declared she was ready to "marry any gentleman of fifteen
hundred a year that would have her in honour."

This determination she was obliged to keep-secret from the king, lest
his anger should fall upon such as sought her, and so interfere with her
matrimonial prospects. Now with such intentions in her mind she pondered
well on an event which had happened to her, such as no woman who has
had like experience ever forgets; namely, that amongst the many who
professed to love her, one had proposed to marry her. This was Charles
Stuart, fourth Duke of Richmond, a man possessed of neither physical
gifts nor mental abilities; who was, moreover, a widower, and a sot.

However, the position which her union with him would ensure was all she
could desire, and he renewing his suit at this time, she consequently
consented to marry him. Now though it was probable she could keep her
design from knowledge of her royal lover, it was scarcely possible she
could hide it from observation of his mistress. And the latter, knowing
the extent to which fair Frances Stuart shared his majesty's heart, and
being likewise aware of the coldness with which his protestations
were by her received, scorned the king and detested the maid. Lady
Castlemaine therefore resolved to use her knowledge of Miss Stuart's
contemplated marriage, for purpose of enraging the jealousy of the one,
and destroying the influence of the other. In order to accomplish such
desirable ends she quietly awaited her opportunity. This came in due

It happened one evening when his majesty had been visiting Frances
Stuart in her apartments, and had returned to his own in a condition of
ill-humour and disappointment, the countess, who had been some days out
of favour, suddenly presented herself before him, and in a bantering
tone, accompanied by ironical smiles, addressed him.

"I hope," said she, "I may be allowed to pay you my homage, although the
angelic Stuart has forbidden you to see me at my own house. I will not
make use of reproaches and expostulations which would disgrace myself;
still less will I endeavour to excuse frailties which nothing can
justify, since your constancy for me deprives me of all defence,
considering I am the only person you have honoured with your tenderness,
who has made herself unworthy of it by ill-conduct. I come now,
therefore, with no other intent than to comfort and condole with you
upon the affliction and grief into which the coldness or new-fashioned
chastity of the inhuman Stuart has reduced your majesty."

Having delivered herself of this speech she laughed loud and heartily,
as if vastly amused at the tenour of her words; and then before the
impatient monarch had time to reply, continued in the same tone, with
quickening breath and flashing eyes, "Be not offended that I take the
liberty of laughing at the gross manner in which you are imposed upon;
I cannot bear to see that such particular affection should make you
the jest of your own court, and that you should be ridiculed with
such impunity. I know that the affected Stuart has sent you away under
pretence of some indisposition, or perhaps some scruple of conscience;
and I come to acquaint you that the Duke of Richmond will soon be with
her, if he is not there already. I do not desire you to believe what I
say, since it might be suggested either through resentment or envy. Only
follow me to her apartment, either that, no longer trusting calumny
and malice you may honour her with a just preference, if I accuse her
falsely; or, if my information be true, you may no longer be the dupe
of a pretended prude, who makes you act so unbecoming and ridiculous a

The king, overwhelmed with astonishment, was irresolute in action; but
Lady Castlemaine, determined on not being deprived of her anticipated
triumph, took him by the hand and forcibly pulled him towards Miss
Stuart's apartments. The maid of honour's servants, surprised at
his majesty's return, were unable to warn their mistress without his
knowledge; whilst one of them, in pay of the countess, found means of
secretly intimating to her that the Duke of Richmond was already in Miss
Stuart's chamber. Lady Castlemaine, having with an air of exultation led
the king down the gallery from his apartments to the threshold of Miss
Stuart's door, made him a low courtesy savouring more of irony than
homage, bade him good-night, and with a subtle smile promptly retired.

The scene which followed is best painted by Hamilton's pen. "It was near
midnight; the king on his way met the chambermaids, who respectfully
opposed his entrance, and, in a very low voice, whispered his majesty
that Miss Stuart had been very ill since he left her; but that being
gone to bed, she was, God be thanked, in a very fine sleep. 'That I must
see,' said the king, pushing her back, who had posted herself in his
way. He found Miss Stuart in bed, indeed, but far from being asleep; the
Duke of Richmond was seated at her pillow, and in all probability was
less inclined to sleep than herself. The perplexity of the one party,
and the rage of the other, were such as may easily be imagined upon
such a surprise. The king, who of all men was one of the most mild and
gentle, testified his resentment to the Duke of Richmond in such
terms as he had never before used. The duke was speechless and almost
petrified; he saw his master and his king justly irritated. The first
transports which rage inspires on such occasions are dangerous. Miss
Stuart's window was very convenient for a sudden revenge, the Thames
flowing close beneath it; he cast his eyes upon it, and seeing those of
the king more incensed than fired with indignation than he thought his
nature capable of, he made a profound bow, and retired without replying
a single word to the vast torrent of threats and menaces that were
poured upon him.

"Miss Stuart having a little recovered from her first surprise, instead
of justifying herself, began to talk in the most extravagant manner, and
said everything that was most capable to inflame the king's passion and
resentment: that if she were not allowed to receive visits from a man
of the Duke of Richmond's rank, who came with honourable intentions, she
was a slave in a free country; that she knew of no engagement that
could prevent her from disposing of her hand as she thought proper; but,
however, if this were not permitted her in his dominions, she did not
believe that there was any power on earth that could hinder her from
going over to France, and throwing herself into a Convent, to enjoy
there that tranquillity which was denied her in his court. The king,
sometimes furious with anger, sometimes relenting at her tears, and
sometimes terrified at her menaces, was so greatly agitated that he knew
not how to answer either the nicety of a creature who wanted to act the
part of Lucretia under his own eye, or the assurance with which she
had the effrontery to reproach him. In this suspense love had almost
entirely vanquished all his resentments, and had nearly induced him to
throw himself upon his knees, and entreat pardon for the injury he had
done her, when she desired him to retire, and leave her in repose, at
least for the remainder of that night, without offending those who had
either accompanied him, or conducted him to her apartments, by a longer
visit. This impertinent request provoked and irritated him to the
highest degree: he went out abruptly, vowing never to see her more, and
passed the most restless and uneasy night he had ever experienced since
his restoration."

Next morning, his majesty sent orders to the Duke of Richmond to quit
the court, and never appear again in his presence. His grace, however,
stayed not to receive this message, having betaken himself with all
possible speed into the country. Miss Stuart, who likewise feared the
king's resentment, hastened to the queen, and throwing herself at her
majesty's feet, entreated forgiveness for the pain and uneasiness she
had caused her in the past, and besought her care and protection in the

She then laid bare her intentions of marrying the Duke of Richmond,
who had loved her long, and was anxious to wed her soon; but since
the discovery of his addresses had caused his banishment, and created
disturbances prejudicial to her good name, she begged the queen would
obtain his majesty's consent to her retiring from the vexations of a
court to the tranquillity of a convent. The queen raised her up, mingled
her tears with those of the troubled maid, and promised to use her
endeavours towards averting the king's displeasure.

On consideration, however, the fair Stuart did not wait to hear his
majesty's reproaches, or receive his entreaties; for the duke, being
impatient to gain his promised bride, quietly returned to town, and
secretly communicated with her. It was therefore agreed between them she
should steal away from the palace, meet him at the "Bear at the Bridge
Foot," situated on the Southwark side of the river, where he would have
a coach awaiting her, in order they might ride away to his residence at
Cobham Hall, near Gravesend, and then be legally and happily united in
the holy bonds of matrimony. And all fell out as had been arranged: the
time being the month of March, 1667.

Now when the king discovered her flight, his anger knew no bounds,
though it sought relief in uttering many violent threats against the
duke, and in sending word to the duchess he would see her no more. In
answer to this message, she, with some show of spirit, returned him
the jewels he had given her, principal amongst which were a necklace of
pearls, valued at over a thousand pounds, and a pair of diamond pendants
of rare lustre.

Neither she nor her husband paid much heed to the royal menaces, for
before a year elapsed they both returned to town, and took up their
residence at Somerset House. Here, as Pepys records, she kept a great
court, "she being visited for her beauty's sake by people, as the queen
is at nights: and they say also she is likely to go to court again and
there put my Lady Castlemaine's nose out of joint. God knows that would
make a great turn." But to such proposals as were made regarding her
return to Whitehall, her husband would not pay heed, and she therefore
remained a stranger to its drawing-rooms for some time longer. And when
two years later she appeared there, her beauty had lost much of its
famed lustre, for meantime she was overtaken by smallpox, a scourge ever
prevalent in the capital. During her illness the king paid her several
visits, and was sorely grieved that the loveliness he so much prized
should be marred by foul disease. But on her recovery, the disfigurement
she suffered scarce lessened his admiration, and by no means abated his
love; which seemed to have gained fresh force from the fact of its being
interrupted awhile.

This soon became perceptible to all, and rumour whispered that the young
duchess would shortly return to Whitehall in a position which she had
declined before marriage. And amongst other stories concerning the
king's love for her, it was common talk that one fair evening in May,
when he had ordered his coach to be ready that he might take an airing
in the park, he, on a sudden impulse, ran down the broad steps leading
from his palace gardens to the riverside. Here, entering a boat alone,
he rowed himself adown the placid river now crossed by early shadows,
until he came to Somerset House, where his lady-love dwelt; and finding
the garden-door locked, he, in his impatience to be with her, clambered
over the wall and sought her. Two months after the occurrence of this
incident, the young duchess was appointed a lady of the bedchamber to
the queen, and therefore had apartments at Whitehall. There was little
doubt now entertained she any longer rejected his majesty's love; and in
order to remove all uncertainties on the point which might arise in her
husband's mind, the king one night, when he had taken over much wine,
boasted to the duke of her complaisancy. Lord Dartmouth, who tells this
story, says this happened "at Lord Townshend's, in Norfolk, as my uncle
told me, who was present." Soon after his grace accepted an honourable
exile as ambassador to Denmark, in which country he died.

During the absence of the Duchess of Richmond, my Lady Castlemaine, then
in the uninterrupted possession of power, led his majesty a sorry life.
Her influence, indeed, seemed to increase with time, until her victim
became a laughing-stock to the heartless, and an object of pity to
the wise. Mr. Povy, whose office as a member of the Tangier Commission
brought him into continual contact with the court, and whose love of
gossip made him observant of all that passed around him, in telling of
"the horrid effeminacy of the king," said that "upon any falling out
between my Lady Castlemaine's nurse and her woman, my lady hath often
said she would make the king make them friends, and they would be
friends and be quiet--which the king had been fain to do." Nor did such
condescension on his majesty's part incline his mistress to treat him
with more respect; for in the quarrels which now became frequent betwixt
them she was wont to term him a fool, in reply to the kingly assertion
that she was a jade.

The disturbances which troubled the court were principally caused by her
infidelities to him, and his subsequent jealousies of her. Chief among
those who shared her intrigues at this time was Harry Jermyn, with whom
she renewed her intimacy from time to time, without the knowledge of his
majesty. The risks she frequently encountered in pursuit of her amours
abounded in comedy. Speaking of Harry Jermyn, Pepys tells us the king
"had like to have taken him abed with her, but that he was fain to creep
under the bed into the closet." It being now rumoured that Jermyn was
about to wed my Lady Falmouth, the countess's love for one whom she
might for ever lose received a fresh impulse, which made her reckless
of concealment. The knowledge of her passion, therefore, coming to
Charles's ears, a bitter feud sprang up between them, during which
violent threats and abusive language were freely exchanged.

At this time my lady was far gone with child, a fact that soon came
bubbling up to the angry surface of their discourse; for the king avowed
he would not own it as his offspring. On hearing this, her passion
became violent beyond all decent bounds. "God damn me, but you shall own
it!" said she, her cheeks all crimson and her eyes afire; and moreover
she added, "she should have it christened in the Chapel Royal, and owned
as his, or otherwise she would bring it to the gallery in Whitehall, and
dash its brains out before his face."

After she had hectored him almost out of his wits, she fled in a
state of wild excitement from the palace, and took up her abode at the
residence of Sir Daniel Harvey, the ranger of Richmond Park. News
of this scene spread rapidly through the court, and was subsequently
discussed in the coffee-houses and taverns all over the town, where
great freedom was made with the lady's name, and great sport of the
king's passion. And now it was said the monarch had parted with his
mistress for ever, concerning which there was much rejoicement and some
doubt. For notwithstanding the king had passed his word to this effect,
yet it was known though his spirit was willing his flesh was weak.
Indeed, three days had scarcely passed when, mindful of her temper, he
began to think his words had been harsh, and, conscious of her power, he
concluded his vows had been rash. He therefore sought her once more, but
found she was not inclined to relent, until, as Pepys was assured, this
monarch of most feeble spirit, this lover of most ardent temper, "sought
her forgiveness upon his knees, and promised to offend her no more."


  The kingdom in peril.--The chancellor falls under his majesty's
  displeasure.--The Duke of Buckingham's mimicry.--Lady Castlemaine's
  malice.--Lord Clarendon's fall.--The Duke of Ormond offends the royal
  favourite.--She covers him with abuse.--Plots against the Duke of
  York.--Schemes for a royal divorce.--Moll Davis and Nell Gwynn.--The
  king and the comedian.--Lady Castlemaine abandons herself to great
  disorders.--Young Jack Spencer.--The countess intrigues with an
  acrobat.--Talk of the town.--The mistress created a duchess.

At this time the kingdom stood in uttermost danger, being brought to
that condition by his majesty's negligence towards its concerns.
The peril was, moreover, heightened from the fact of the king being
impatient to rid himself of those who had the nation's credit at heart,
and sought to uphold its interests. To this end he was led in part by
his own inclinations, and furthermore by his friends' solicitations.
Foremost amongst those with whose services he was anxious to dispense,
were the chancellor, my Lord Clarendon, and the lord lieutenant of
Ireland, his grace the Duke of Ormond.

The king's displeasure against these men, who had served his father
loyally, himself faithfully, and their country honestly, was instigated
through hatred borne them by my Lady Castlemaine. From the first both
had bewailed the monarch's connection with her, and the evil influence
she exercised over him. Accordingly, after the pattern of honest men,
they had set their faces against her.

Not only, as has already been stated, would the chancellor refuse to
let any document bearing her name pass the great seal, but he had often
prevailed with the king to alter resolutions she had persuaded him to
form. And moreover had his lordship sinned in her eyes by forbidding
his wife to visit or hold intercourse with her. These were sufficient
reasons to arouse the hatred and procure the revenge of this malicious
woman, who was now virtually at the head of the kingdom. For awhile,
however, Charles, mindful of the services the chancellor had rendered
him, was unwilling to thrust him from his high place. But as time
sped, and the machinations of a clique of courtiers in league with the
countess were added to her influence, the chancellor's power wavered.
And finally, when he was suspected of stepping between his majesty and
his unlawful pleasures--concerning which more shall be said anon--he

At the head and front of the body which plotted against Lord Clarendon,
pandered to Lady Castlemaine, and, for its own purposes--politically
and socially--sought to control the king, was his grace the Duke of
Buckingham. This witty courtier and his friends, when assembled round
the pleasant supper table spread in the countess's apartments, and
honoured almost nightly by the presence of the king, delighted to
vent the force of their humour upon the chancellor, and criticize his
influence over the monarch until Charles smarted from their words.
In the height of their mirth, if his majesty declared he would go a
journey, walk in a certain direction, or perform some trivial action
next day, those around him would lay a wager he would not fulfil his
intentions; and when asked why they had arrived at such conclusions,
they would reply, because the chancellor would not permit him. On this
another would remark with mock gravity, he thought there were no
grounds for such an imputation, though, indeed, he could not deny it was
universally believed abroad his majesty was implicitly governed by Lord
Clarendon. The king, being keenly sensitive to remarks doubting his
authority, and most desirous of appearing his own master, would
exclaim on such occasions that the chancellor "had served him long,
and understood his business, in which he trusted him; but in any other
matter than his business, he had no more credit with him than any other
man." And presently the Duke of Buckingham--who possessed talents of
mimicry to a surpassing degree--would arise, and, screwing his face into
ridiculous contortions, and shaking his wig in a manner that burlesqued
wisdom to perfection, deliver some ludicrous speech brimming with
mirth and indecencies, assuming the grave air and stately manner of the
chancellor the while. And finally, to make the caricature perfect, Tom
Killigrew, hanging a pair of bellows before him by way of purse, and
preceded by a friend carrying a fireshovel to represent a mace, would
walk round the room with the slow determined tread peculiar to Lord
Clarendon. At these performances the king, his mistress, and his
courtiers would laugh loud and long in chorus, with which was mingled
sounds of chinking glasses and flowing wine. ["Came my lord chancellor
(the Earl of Clarendon) and his lady, his purse and mace borne before
him, to visit me"--Evelyn's "Diary."]

In this manner was the old man's power undermined; but a circumstance
which hastened his fall occurred in the early part of 1667. In that year
Lady Castlemaine had, for a valuable consideration, disposed of a place
at court, which ensured the purchaser a goodly salary. However, before
the bargain could finally be ratified, it was necessary the appointment
should pass the great seal. This the chancellor would not permit, and
accompanied his refusal by remarking, "he thought this woman would sell
every thing shortly." His speech being repeated to her, she, in great
rage, sent him word she "had disposed of this place, and had no doubt in
a little time to dispose of his." And so great was the malice she bore
him, that she railed against him openly and in all places; nor did
she scruple to declare in the queen's chamber, in the presence of much
company, "that she hoped to see his head upon a stake, to keep company
with those of the regicides on Westminster Hall."

And some political movements now arising, the history of which lies not
within the province of this work, the king seized upon them as an excuse
for parting with his chancellor. The monarch complained that my Lord
Clarendon "was so imperious that he would endure no contradiction; that
he had a faction in the House of Commons that opposed everything that
concerned his majesty's service, if it were not recommended to them
by him; and that he had given him very ill advice concerning the
parliament, which offended him most."

Therefore there were rumours in the air that the chancellor's fall was
imminent; nor were the efforts of his son-in-law, the Duke of York, able
to protect him, for the friends of my Lady Castlemaine openly told his
majesty "it would not consist with his majesty's honour to be hectored
out of his determination to dismiss the chancellor by his brother, who
was wrought upon by his wife's crying." It therefore happened on the
26th of August, 1667, as early as ten o'clock in the morning, Lord
Clarendon waited at Whitehall on the king, who presently, accompanied by
his brother, received him with characteristic graciousness. Whereon the
old man, acknowledging the monarch's courtesy, said he "had no suit to
make to him, nor the least thought to dispute with him, or to divert him
from the resolution he had taken; but only to receive his determination
from himself, and most humbly to beseech him to let him know what
fault he had committed, that had drawn this severity upon him from his

In answer to this Charles said he must always acknowledge "he had served
him honestly and faithfully, and that he did believe never king had
a better servant; that he had taken this resolution for his good and
preservation, as well as for his own convenience and security; that he
was sorry the business had taken so much air, and was so publicly spoken
of, that he knew not how to change his purpose." To these words of
fair seeming the troubled chancellor replied by doubting if the sudden
dismissal of an old servant who had served the crown full thirty years,
without any suggestion of crime, but rather with a declaration of
innocence, would not call his majesty's justice and good nature into
question. He added that men would not know how to serve him, when they
should see it was in the power of three or four persons who had never
done him any notable service to dispose him to ungracious acts. And
finally, he made bold to cast some reflections upon my Lady Castlemaine,
and give his majesty certain warnings regarding her influence.

At this the king, not being well pleased, rose up, and the interview,
which had lasted two hours, terminated. Lord Clarendon tells us so much
concerning his memorable visit, to which Pepys adds a vivid vignette
picture of his departure. When my lord passed from his majesty's
presence into the privy garden, my Lady Castlemaine, who up to that
time had been in bed, "ran out in her smock into her aviary looking into
Whitehall--and thither her woman brought her nightgown--and stood joying
herself at the old man's going away; and several of the gallants of
Whitehall, of which there were many staying to see the chancellor
return, did talk to her in her birdcage--among others Blaneford, telling
her she was the bird of paradise."

A few days after this occurrence the king sent Secretary Morrice to the
chancellor's house, with a warrant under a sign manual to require and
receive the great seal. This Lord Clarendon at once delivered him with
many expressions of duty which he bade the messenger likewise convey his
majesty. And no sooner had Morrice handed the seals to the king,
than Baptist May, keeper of the privy purse, and friend of my Lady
Castlemaine, sought the monarch, and falling upon his knees, kissed his
hand and congratulated him on his riddance of the chancellor. "For now."
said he, availing himself of the liberty Charles permitted his friends,
"you will be king--what you have never been before." Finally, the
chancellor was, through influence of his enemies, impeached in the House
of Commons; and to such length did they pursue him, that he was banished
the kingdom by act of parliament.

His grace the Duke of Ormond was the next minister whom my Lady
Castlemaine, in the strength of her evil influence, sought to undermine.
By reason of an integrity rendering him too loyal to the king to pander
to his majesty's mistress, he incurred her displeasure in many ways;
but especially by refusing to gratify her cupidity. It happened she
had obtained from his majesty a warrant granting her the Phoenix Park,
Dublin, and the mansion situated therein, which had always been placed
at service of the lords lieutenants, and was the only summer residence
at their disposal. The duke, therefore, boldly refusing to pass the
warrant, stopped the grant. [According to O'Connor's "Bibliotheca
Stowensis," Lady Castlemaine soon after received a grant of a thousand
pounds per annum in compensation for her loss of Phoenix Park.] This
so enraged the countess, that soon after, when his grace returned to
England, she, on meeting him in one of the apartments in Whitehall,
greeted him with a torrent of abusive language and bitter reproaches,
such as the rancour of her heart could suggest, or the license of her
tongue utter, and concluded by hoping she might live to see him hanged.
The duke heard her with the uttermost calmness, and when she had
exhausted her abusive vocabulary quietly replied, "Madam, I am not in so
much haste to put an end to your days; for all I wish with regard to you
is, that I may live to see you grow old." And, bowing low, the fine old
soldier left her presence. It may be added, though the duke was deprived
of the lord lieutenancy, the countess's pious wish regarding him was
never fulfilled.

It now occurred to those who had relentlessly persecuted the chancellor,
that though they were safe as long as Charles reigned, his death would
certainly place them in peril. For they sufficiently knew the Duke
of York's character to be aware when he ascended the throne he would
certainly avenge the wrongs suffered by his father-in-law. Accordingly
these men, prominent amongst whom were the Duke of Buckingham, Sir
Thomas Clifford, Lords Arlington, Lauderdale, and Ashley, and Baptist
May, resolved to devise means which would prevent the Duke of York ever
attaining the power of sovereignty. Therefore scarce a year had gone by
since Lord Clarendon's downfall, ere rumours were spread abroad that his
majesty was about to put away the queen, This was to be effected, it
was said, by the king's acknowledgment of a previous marriage with Lucy
Walters, mother of the Duke of Monmouth, or by obtaining a divorce on
ground of her majesty's barrenness.

The Duke of Buckingham, who was prime mover in this plot, aware of the
king's pride in, and fondness for the Duke of Monmouth, favoured the
scheme of his majesty's admission of a marriage previous to that
which united him with Catherine of Braganza. And according to Burnet,
Buckingham undertook to procure witnesses who would swear they had
been present at the ceremony which united him with the abandoned Lucy
Walters. Moreover, the Earl of Carlisle, who likewise favoured the
contrivance, offered to bring this subject before the House of Lords.
However, the king would not consent to trifle with the succession in
this vile manner, and the idea was promptly abandoned. But though the
project was unsuccessful, it was subsequently the cause of many evils;
for the chances of sovereignty, flashing before the eyes of the Duke
of Monmouth, dazzled him with hopes, in striving to realize which, he,
during the succeeding reign, steeped the country in civil warfare, and
lost his head.

The king's friends, ever active for evil, now sought other methods
by which he might rid himself of the woman who loved him well, and
therefore be enabled to marry again, when, it was trusted, he would have
heirs to the crown. It was suggested his union might, through lack of
some formality, be proved illegal; but as this could not be effected
without open violation of truth and justice, it was likewise forsaken.
The Duke of Buckingham now besought his majesty that he would order a
bill to divorce himself from the queen to be brought into the House of
Commons. The king gave his consent to the suggestion, and the affair
proceeded so far that a date was fixed upon for the motion. However,
three days previous, Charles called Baptist May aside, and told him the
matter must be discontinued.

But even yet my Lord Buckingham did not despair of gaining his wishes.
And, being qualified by his character for the commission of abominable
deeds, and fitted by his experience for undertaking adventurous schemes,
he proposed to his majesty, as Burnet states, that he would give
him leave to abduct the queen, and send her out of the kingdom to a
plantation, where she should be well and carefully looked to, but never
heard of more. Then it could be given out she had deserted him, upon
which grounds he might readily obtain a divorce. But the king, though he
permitted such a proposal to be made him, contemplated it with horror,
declaring "it was a wicked thing to make a poor lady miserable only
because she was his wife and had no children by him, which was no fault
of hers."

Ultimately these various schemes resolved themselves into a proposition
which Charles sanctioned. This was that the queen's confessor should
persuade her to leave the world, and embrace a religious life. Whether
this suggestion was ever made to her majesty is unknown, for the
Countess of Castlemaine, hearing of these schemes, and foreseeing she
would be the first sacrificed to a new queen's jealousy, opposed them
with such vigour that they fell to the ground and were heard of no more.
The fact was, the king took no active part in these designs, not being
anxious, now the Duchess of Richmond had accepted his love, to unite
himself with another wife. Whilst her grace had been unmarried, the idea
had indeed occurred to him of seeking a divorce that he might be free to
lay his crown at the feet of the maid of honour. And with such a view
in mind he had consulted Dr. Sheldon, Archbishop of Canterbury, as
to whether the Church of England "would allow of a divorce, when both
parties were consenting, and one of them lay under a natural incapacity
of having children." Before answering a question on which so much
depended, the archbishop requested time for consideration, which,
with many injunctions to secrecy, was allowed him. "But," says Lord
Dartmouth, who vouches for truth of this statement, "the Duke of
Richmond's clandestine marriage, before he had given an answer, made
the king suspect he had revealed the secret to Clarendon, whose creature
Sheldon was known to be; and this was the true secret of Clarendon's
disgrace." For the king, believing the chancellor had aided the duke in
his secret marriage, in order to prevent his majesty's union with Miss
Stuart, and the presumable exclusion of the Duke and Duchess of York and
their children from the throne, never forgave him.

Though the subject of the royal divorce was no longer mentioned, the
disturbances springing from it were far from ended; for the Duke
of Buckingham, incensed at Lady Castlemaine's interference, openly
quarrelled with her, abused her roundly, and swore he would remove the
king from her power. To this end he therefore employed his talents, and
with such tact and assiduity that he ultimately fulfilled his menaces.
The first step he took towards accomplishing his desires, was to
introduce two players to his majesty, named respectively Moll Davis and
Nell Gwynn.

The former, a member of the Duke of York's troupe of performers, could
boast of goodly lineage, though not of legitimate birth, her father
being Thomas Howard, first Earl of Berkshire. She had, early in the year
1667, made her first appearance at the playhouse, and had by her comely
face and shapely figure challenged the admiration of the town. Her
winsome ways, pleasant voice, and graceful dancing soon made her a
favourite with the courtiers, who voted her an excellent wench; though
some of her own sex, judging harshly of her, as is their wont towards
each other, declared her "the most impertinent slut in the world."

Now the Duke of Buckingham knowing her well, it seemed to him no woman
was more suited to fulfil his purpose of thwarting the countess; for
if he succeeded in awaking the king's passion for the comedian, such a
proceeding would not only arouse my lady's jealousy, but likewise humble
her pride. Therefore, when this court Mephistopheles accompanied his
majesty to the playhouse, he was careful to dwell on Moll Davis's
various charms, the excellency of her figure, the beauty of her face,
the piquancy of her manner. So impressed was the monarch by Buckingham's
descriptions, that he soon became susceptible to her fascinations.
The amour once begun was speedily pursued; and she was soon enabled to
boast, in presence of the players, that the king--whose generosity was
great to fallen women--had given her a ring valued at seven hundred
pounds, and was about to take, and furnish most richly, a house in
Suffolk Street for her benefit and abode. Pepys heard this news in
the first month of the year 1668; and soon afterwards a further rumour
reached him that she was veritably the king's mistress, "even to the
scorn of the world."

This intrigue affected Lady Castlemaine in a manner which the Duke
of Buckingham had not expected. Whilst sitting beside Charles in the
playhouse, she noticed his attention was riveted upon her rival, when
she became melancholy and out of humour, in which condition she remained
some days. But presently rallying her spirits, she soon found means to
divert her mind and avenge her wrongs, of which more shall be recorded
hereafter. Meanwhile, the poor queen, whose feelings neither the king
nor his courtiers took into consideration, bore this fresh insult with
such patience as she could summon to her aid, on one occasion only
protesting against her husband's connection with the player. This
happened when the Duke of York's troupe performed in Whitehall the
tragedy of "Horace," "written by the virtuous Mrs. Phillips." The
courtiers assembled on this occasion presented a brilliant and goodly
sight. Evelyn tells us "the excessive gallantry of the ladies was
infinite, those jewels especially on Lady Castlemaine esteemed at forty
thousand pounds and more, far outshining ye queene." Between each act of
the tradgedy a masque and antique dance was performed. When Moll
Davis appeared, her majesty, turning pale from sickness of heart, and
trembling from indignation at the glaring insult thrust upon her, arose
and left the apartment boisterous with revelry, where she had sat a
solitary sad figure in its midst. As a result of her intimacy with
the king, Moll Davis bore him a daughter, who subsequently became
Lady Derwentwater. But the Duke of Buckingham's revenge upon my Lady
Castlemaine was yet but half complete; and therefore whilst the monarch
carried on his intrigue with Moll Davis, his grace, enlarging upon the
wit and excellency of Nell Gwynn, besought his majesty to send for
her. This request the king complied with readily enough, and she was
accordingly soon added to the list of his mistresses. Nell Gwynn, who
was at this period in her eighteenth year, had joined the company of
players at the king's house, about the same time as Moll Davis had
united her fortunes with the Duke of York's comedians. Her time upon
the stage was, however, but of brief duration; for my Lord Buckhurst,
afterwards Earl of Dorset, a witty and licentious man, falling in love
with her, induced her to become his mistress, quit the theatre, and
forsake the society of her lover, Charles Hart, a famous actor and
great-nephew of William Shakespeare. And she complying with his desires
in these matters, he made her an allowance of one hundred pounds a year,
on which she returned her parts to the manager, and declared she would
act no more.

Accordingly in the month of July, 1667, she was living at Epsom with
my Lord Buckhurst and his witty friend Sir Charles Sedley, and a right
merry house they kept for a time. But alas, ere the summer had died
there came a day when charming Nell and his fickle lordship were
friends no more, and parting from him, she was obliged to revert to the
playhouse again.

Now Nell Gwynn being not only a pretty woman, but moreover an excellent
actress, her return was welcomed by the town. Her achievements in light
comedy were especially excellent, and declared entertaining to a rare
degree. Pepys, who witnessed her acting "a comical part," in the "Maiden
Queen," a play by Dryden, says he could "never hope to see the like
done again by man or woman. So great performance of a comical part," he
continues, "was never, I believe, in the world before as Nell do this,
both as a mad girle, then most and best of all when she comes in like
a young gallant; and hath the motions and carriage of a spark the most
that ever I saw any man have. It makes me, I confess, admire her."
In the part of Valeria, in "Tyrannic Love," she was also pronounced
inimitable; especially in her delivery of the epilogue. The vein of
comedy with which she delivered the opening lines, addressed to those
about to bear her dead body from the stage, was merry beyond belief.
"Hold!" she cried out to one of them, as she suddenly started to life--

  "Hold!  are you mad?  you damned confounded dog!
   I am to rise and speak the epilogue."

Before the year 1667 ended, she had several times visited his majesty
at Whitehall. The king was now no less assured of her charms as a woman,
than he had previously been convinced of her excellence as an actress.
In due time, her intimacy with the monarch resulted in the birth of two
sons; the elder of which was created Duke of St. Albans, from whom is
descended the family now bearing that title: the second died young and

Through influence of these women, my Lady Castlemaine's power over the
king rapidly diminished, and at last ceased to exist; seeing which, as
Burnet says, "She abandoned herself to great disorders; one of which
by the artifice of the Duke of Buckingham was discovered by the king in
person, the party concerned leaping out of the window." The gallant to
whom the worthy bishop refers was John Churchill, afterwards the great
Duke of Marlborough, at this time a handsome stripling of eighteen
summers. In his office as page to the Duke of York, he frequently came
under notice of her ladyship, who, pleased with the charms of his
boyish face and graceful figure, intimated his love would not prove
unacceptable to her. Accordingly he promptly made love to the countess,
who, in the first fervour of her affection, presented him with five
thousand pounds. With this sum he purchased a life annuity of five
hundred pounds, which, as Lord Chesterfield writes, "became the
foundation of his subsequent fortune." Nor did her generosity end here:
at a cost of six thousand crowns she obtained for him the post of
groom of the bedchamber to the Duke of York, and was instrumental in
subsequently forwarding his advancements in the army.

My Lady Castlemaine was by no means inclined to spend her days in misery
because the royal favour was no longer vouchsafed her; and therefore, by
way of satisfying her desires for revenge, conducted intrigues not only
with John Churchill and Harry Jermyn, but likewise with one Jacob Hall,
a noted acrobat. This man was not only gifted with strength and agility,
but likewise with grace and beauty: so that, as Granger tells us, "The
ladies regarded him as a due composition of Hercules and Adonis." His
dancing on the tight rope at Bartholomew Fair was "a thing worth seeing
and mightily followed;" whilst his deeds of daring at Southwark Fair
were no less subjects of admiration and wonder. The countess was so
charmed by the performance of this athlete in public, that she became
desirous of conversation with him in private; and he was accordingly
introduced to her by Beck Marshall, the player. The countess found his
society so entertaining that she frequently visited him, a compliment
he courteously returned. Moreover, she allowed him a yearly salary, and
openly showed her admiration for him by having their portraits painted
in one picture: in which she is represented playing a fiddle, whilst he
leans over her, touching the strings of a guitar.

Her amours in general, and her intimacy with the rope-dancer in
particular, becoming common talk of the town, his majesty became
incensed; and it grieved him the more that one who dwelt in his palace,
and was yet under his protection, should divide her favours between a
king and a mountebank. Accordingly bitter feuds arose between her and
the monarch, when words of hatred, scorn, and defiance were freely
exchanged. His majesty upbraiding her with a love for the rope-dancer,
she replied with much spirit, "it very ill became him to throw out such
reproaches against her: that he had never ceased quarrelling unjustly
with her, ever since he had betrayed his own mean low inclinations: that
to gratify such a depraved taste as his, he wanted the pitiful strolling
actresses whom he had lately introduced into their society." Then came
fresh threats from the lips of the fury, followed by passionate storms
of tears.

The king, who loved ease greatly, and valued peace exceedingly, became
desirous of avoiding such harrowing scenes. Accordingly, he resolved to
enter into a treaty with his late mistress, by which he would consent
to grant her such concessions as she desired, providing she promised to
discontinue her intrigues with objectionable persons, and leave him to
pursue his ways without reproach. By mutual consent, his majesty and
the countess selected the Chevalier de Grammont to conduct this delicate
business; he being one in whose tact and judgment they had implicit
confidence. After various consultations and due consideration, it was
agreed the countess should abandon her amours with Henry Jermyn and
Jacob Hall, rail no more against Moll Davis or Nell Gwynn, or any other
of his majesty's favourites, in consideration for which Charles would
create her a duchess, and give her an additional pension in order to
support her fresh honours with becoming dignity.

And as the king found her residence in Whitehall no longer necessary
to his happiness, Berkshire House was purchased for her as a suitable
dwelling This great mansion, situated at the south-west corner of St.
James's Street, facing St. James's Palace, was surrounded by pleasant
gardens devised in the Dutch style, and was in every way a habitation
suited for a prince. This handsome gift was followed by a grant of the
revenues of the Post Office, amounting to four thousand seven hundred
pounds a year, which was at first paid her in weekly instalments. On
the 3rd of August, 1670, Barbara, Countess of Castlemaine, was created
Baroness Nonsuch, of Nonsuch Park, Surrey; Countess of Southampton; and
Duchess of Cleveland in the peerage of England. The reasons for
crowding these honours thick upon her were, as the patent stated, "in
consideration of her noble descent, her father's death in the service of
the crown, and by reason of her personal virtues."

Nor did his majesty's extravagant favours to her end here. She was now,
as Mr. Povy told his friend Pepys, "in a higher command over the king
than ever--not as a mistress, for she scorns him, but as a tyrant, to
command him." In consequence of this power, she was, two months after
her creation as duchess, presented by the monarch with the favourite
hunting seat of Henry VIII., the magnificent palace and great park of
Nonsuch, in the parishes of Cheam and Malden, in the county of Surrey.
And yet a year later, she received fresh proofs of his royal munificence
by the gift of "the manor, hundred, and advowson of Woking, county
Surrey; the manor and advowson of Chobham, the hundred of Blackheath and
Wootton, the manor of Bagshot (except the park, site of the manor and
manor-house, and the Bailiwick, and the office of the Bailiwick, called
Surrey Bailiwick, otherwise Bagshot Bailiwick), and the advowson of
Bisley, all in the same county."

Her wealth, the more notable at a time when the king was in debt, and
the nation impoverished from expenditure necessary to warfare, was
enormous. Andrew Marvell, writing in August, 1671, states: "Lord St.
John, Sir R. Howard, Sir John Bennet, and Sir W. Bicknell, the brewer,
have farmed the customs. They have signed and sealed ten thousand pounds
a year more to the Duchess of Cleveland; who has likewise near ten
thousand pounds a year out of the new farm of the country excise of Beer
and Ale; five thousand pounds a year out of the Post Office; and they
say, the reversion of all the King's Leases, the reversion of places all
in the Custom House, the green wax, and indeed what not? All promotions
spiritual and temporal pass under her cognizance."


  Louise de Querouaille.--The Triple Alliance.--Louise is created Duchess
  of Portsmouth.--Her grace and the impudent comedian.--Madam Ellen moves
  in society.--The young Duke of St. Albans.--Strange story of the
  Duchess of Mazarine.--Entertaining the wits at Chelsea.--Luxurious
  suppers.--Profligacy and wit.

The Duchess of Cleveland having shared the fate common to court
favourites, her place in the royal affections was speedily filled by
a mistress whose influence was even more baneful to the king, and more
pernicious to the nation. This woman was Louise de Querouaille, the
descendant of a noble family in Lower Brittany. At an early age she had
been appointed maid of honour to Henrietta, youngest sister of Charles
II., soon after the marriage of that princess, in 1661, with the Duke
of Orleans, brother to Louis XIV. Fate decreed that Mademoiselle de
Querouaille should be brought into England by means of a political
movement; love ordained she should reign mistress of the king's

It happened in January, 1668, that a Triple Alliance had been signed at
the Hague, which engaged England, Sweden, and the United Provinces to
join in defending Spain against the power of France. A secret treaty
in this agreement furthermore bound the allies to check the ambition of
Louis XIV., and, if possible, reduce his encroaching sway. That Charles
II. should enter into such an alliance was galling to the French
monarch, who resolved to detach his kinsman from the compact, and bind
him to the interests of France. To effect this desired purpose, which
he knew would prove objectionable to the British nation, Louis employed
Henrietta, Duchess of Orleans, to visit England on pretext of pleasure
and affection, and secretly persuade and bribe her brother to the
measures required.

The young duchess, though an English princess, had at heart the
interests of the country in which she had been reared, and which on her
marriage she had adopted as her own. She therefore gladly undertook this
mission, confident of her success from the fact that of all his family
she had ever been the most tenderly beloved by Charles. Therefore she
set out from France, and in the month of May, 1670, arrived at Dover,
to which port the king, Queen, and court hastened, that they might greet
and entertain her. For full ten days in this merry month, high revelry
was held at Dover, during which time Henrietta skilfully and secretly
effected the object of her visit. And her delight was now the greater,
inasmuch as one item which this agreement entrusted her to make, engaged
that Charles would, as soon as he could with safety, follow the example
of his brother the Duke of York, and become a Catholic. In carrying out
this purpose Louis promised him substantial aid and sure protection.
Likewise, it may be mentioned, did the French king engrage to grant him
a subsidy equal to a million a year, if Charles joined him in an attack
on Holland.

The prospect of his sister's return filled the king with sorrow, which
increased as the term of her visit drew to an end. "He wept when he
parted with her," wrote Monsieur Colbert, the French ambassador, who
significantly adds, "whatever favour she asked of him was granted."

Now Louis knowing the weakness of the English monarch's character,
and aware of his susceptibility to female loveliness, had despatched
Mademoiselle de Querouaille in the train of Henrietta. Satisfied that
Charles could not resist her charms, the French monarch had instructed
this accomplished woman, who was trusted in his councils, to accept the
royal love, which it was surmised would be proffered her; so that by the
influence which she would consequently obtain, she might hold him to the
promises he might make the Duchess of Orleans.

As had been anticipated, the king became enamoured of this charming
woman, who, before departing with the princess, faithfully promised to
return and become his mistress. In his desire to possess her the merry
monarch was upheld by his grace of Buckingham, who, continuing in
enmity with the Duchess of Cleveland, resolved to prevent her regaining
influence over the king by adding the beautiful Frenchwoman to the
number of his mistresses. He therefore told Charles, in the sarcastic
manner it was occasionally his wont to use, "it was a decent piece of
tenderness for his sister to take care of some of her servants;" whilst
on being sent into France, he assured Louis "he could never reckon
himself sure of the king, but by giving him a mistress that should be
true to his interests." But neither king required urging to a resolution
on which both had separately determined; and soon Mademoiselle
Querouaille was ready for her journey to England. A yacht was therefore
sent to Dieppe to convey her, and presently she was received at
Whitehall by the lord treasurer, and her arrival celebrated in verse by
Dryden. Moreover, that she might have apartments in the palace, the king
at once appointed her a maid of honour to her majesty, this being the
first of a series of favours she was subsequently to receive. Evelyn,
writing in the following October, says it was universally reported a
ceremonious espousal, devoid of the religious rite, had taken place
between his majesty and Mademoiselle Querouaille at Lord Arlington's
house at Euston. "I acknowledge," says this trustworthy chronicler
"she was for the most part in her undresse all day, and that there was
fondnesse and toying with that young wanton; nay, 'twas said I was at
the former ceremony, but 'tis utterly false; I neither saw nor heard of
any such thing whilst I was there, tho' I had ben in her chamber,
and all over that apartment late enough, and was myself observing all
passages with much curiosity."

She now became a central figure in the brilliant court of the merry
monarch, being loved by the king, flattered by the wits, and tolerated
by the queen, to whom--unlike the Duchess of Cleveland--she generally
paid the greatest respect. Her card tables were thronged by courtiers
eager to squander large sums for the honour of playing with the reigning
sultana; her suppers were attended by wits and gallants as merry and
amorous as those who had once crowded round my Lady Castlemaine in the
zenith of her power. No expense was too great for his majesty to lavish
upon her; no honour too high with which to reward her affection.
The authority just mentioned says her apartments at Whitehall were
luxuriously furnished "with ten times the richnesse and glory beyond
the Queene's; such massy pieces of plate, whole tables and stands of
incredible value." After a residence of little more than three years
at court she was raised by King Charles to the peerage as Baroness of
Petersfield, Countess of Farnham, and Duchess of Portsmouth; whilst the
French king, as a mark of appreciation for the services she rendered
France, conferred upon her the Duchy of Aubigny, in the province of
Berri in France, to which he added the title and dignity of Duchess and
Peeress of France, with the revenues of the territory of Aubigny. And
two years later King Charles, prodigal of the honours he conferred upon
her, ennobled the son she had borne him in 1672. The titles of the Duke
of Richmond and Lennox having lately reverted to the crown by the death
of Frances Stuart's husband, who was last of his line, the bastard son
of the French mistress was created Duke of Richmond and Earl of March
in England, and Duke of Lennox and Earl of Darnley in Scotland. To
these proud titles the present head of the noble house of Richmond and
Lennox--by virtue of the grant made by Louis XIV. to his ancestress
likewise adds that of Duc d'Aubigny in the peerage of France.

But though honoured by the king, and flattered by the court, the Duchess
of Portsmouth was far from enjoying uninterrupted happiness; inasmuch as
her peace was frequently disturbed by jealousy. The principal cause of
her uneasiness during the first five years of her reign was the king's
continued infatuation for Nell Gwynn; now, by reason of the elevated
position she enjoyed, styled Madam Ellen. This "impudent comedian," as
Evelyn calls her, was treated by his majesty with, extreme indulgence
and royal liberality. In proof of the latter statement, it may be
mentioned that in less than four years from the date of her first
becoming his mistress, he had wantonly lavished sixty thousand pounds
upon her, as Burnet affirms. Moreover, he had purchased as a town
mansion for her "the first good house on the left-hand side of St.
James's Square, entering Pall Mall," now the site of the Army and Navy
Club; had given her likewise a residence situated close by the Castle
at Windsor; and a summer villa located in what was then the charming
village of Chelsea. To such substantial gifts as these he added the
honour of an appointment at court: when the merry player was made one
of the ladies of the privy chamber to the queen. Samuel Pegg states this
fact, not generally known, and assures us he discovered it "from the
book in the lord chamberlain's office."

From her position as the king's mistress, Madam Ellen moved on terms of
perfect equality with the Duchess of Portsmouth's friends--supping
with my Lady Orrery, visiting my Lord Cavendish, and establishing a
friendship with the gay Duchess of Norfolk. This was a source of deep
vexation to the haughty Frenchwoman; but Nell Gwynn's familiarity with
the king was a cause of even greater mortification. Sir George Etherege
records in verse when the monarch was "dumpish" Nell would "chuck the
royal chin;" and it is stated that, mindful of her former conquests over
Charles Hart and Charles Lord Buckley, it was her habit to playfully
style his majesty "Charles the Third." Her wilfulness, wit, and beauty
enabled her to maintain such a strong hold upon the king's heart, that
he shared his time equally between her and the Duchess of Portsmouth.
Indignant that a woman from the playhouse should receive such evidences
of the royal affection, her grace lost no opportunity of insulting Nell,
who responded by mimicry and grimaces, which threw those who witnessed
the comedy into fits of laughter, and covered the wrathful duchess with

But though the light-hearted actress frequently treated disdain with
ridicule, she could occasionally analyze the respective positions held
by herself and the duchess with seriousness, Madame de Sevigne tells us,
Nell would reason in this manner: "This duchess pretends to be a person
of quality: she affirms she is related to the best families in France,
and when any person of distinction dies she puts herself in mourning.
If she be a lady of such quality, why does she demean herself to be a
courtesan? She ought to die with shame. As for me, it is my profession.
I do not pretend to anything better. The king entertains me, and I am
constant to him at present. He has a son by me; I contend that he ought
to acknowledge him--and I am well assured that he will, for he loves me
as well as the duchess."

To have her son ennobled, and by this means raise him to an equality
with the offspring of her grace, became the desire of Nell Gwynn's life.
To her request that this favour might be granted, the king had promised
compliance from time to time, but had as frequently postponed the
fulfilment of his word. At last, weary of beseeching him, she devised
a speech which she trusted might have the desired effect. Accordingly,
when the monarch came to see her one day, he found her in a pensive
mood, playing with her pretty boy; and the lad, being presently set upon
his feet, he promptly tottered down the room, whereon she cried out to
him, "Come here, you little bastard!" Hearing this word of evil import
applied to his son, the monarch begged she would not use the expression,
"I am sorry," said she regretfully, "but, alas, I have no other name
to give him!" His majesty took the hint, and soon after bestowed on him
that of Charles Beauclerk, and created him Baron of Heddington, in Oxon,
and Earl of Burford in the same county; and finally, when he had reached
the age of ten years, raised him to the dignity of Duke of St. Albans.

After a reign of five years in the court of the merry monarch, her Grace
of Portsmouth was destined to encounter a far more formidable rival than
Nell Gwynn, in the person of the Duchess of Mazarine. This lady, on
her arrival in England in 1675, possessed most of the charms which had
rendered her notable in youth. To the attraction they lent was added an
interest arising from her personal history, in which King Charles had
once figured, and to which fate had subsequently added many pages of

Hortensia Mancini, afterwards Duchess of Mazarine, was descendant of a
noble Roman family, and niece of the great Julius Mazarine, cardinal of
the church, and prime minister of France. Her parents dying whilst she,
her sister and brother were young, they had been reared under the care
of his eminence. According to the memoirs of the duchess, the cardinal's
peace must have frequently been put to flight by his charges, whose
conduct, he declared, exhibited neither piety nor honour. Mindful of
this, he placed his nieces under the immediate supervision of Madame de
Venelle, who was directed to have the closest guard over them. A story
related by the duchess shows in what manner this lady's duty was carried
out, and what unexpected results attended it on one occasion.

When the court visited Lyons, in the year 1658, the cardinal's nieces
and their governess lodged in a commodious mansion in one of the public
squares. "Our chamber windows, which opened towards the market-place,"
writes Hortensia, "were low enough for one to get in with ease. Madame
de Venelle was so used to her trade of watching us, that she rose even
in her sleep to see what we were doing. One night, as my sister lay
asleep with her mouth open, Madame de Venelle, after her accustomed
manner, coming, asleep as she was, to grope in the dark, happened to
thrust her finger into her mouth so far that my sister, starting out
of her sleep, made her teeth almost meet in her finger. Judge you the
amazement they both were in to find themselves in this posture when they
were thoroughly awake. My sister was in a grievous fret. The story
was told the king the next day, and the court had the divertisement of
laughing at it."

Whilst the great minister's nieces were yet extremely young, Louis XIV.
fell passionately in love with the elder, Maria, and his marriage with
her was frustrated only by the united endeavours of the queen mother and
the cardinal. A proposal to raise Hortensia to the nominal dignity of
queen was soon after made on behalf of Charles II., who sought her as
his bride. But he being at the time an exile, banished from his kingdom,
and with little hope of regaining his throne, the offer was rejected by
Cardinal Mazarine as unworthy of his favourite niece.

His eminence was, however, anxious to see her married, and accordingly
sought amongst the nobility of France a husband suitable to her merits
and equal to her condition, she being not only a beautiful woman but,
through his bounty, the richest heiress in Christendom. It happened
the cardinal's choice settled upon one who had fallen in love with
Hortensia, and who had declared, with amorous enthusiasm, that if he had
but the happiness of being married to her, it would not grieve him to
die three months afterwards.

The young noble was Armand Charles de la Porte, Duke de Meilleraye, who
had the sole recommendation of being one of the richest peers of France.
On condition that he and his heirs should assume the name of Mazarine
and arms of that house, the cardinal consented to his becoming the
husband of his niece. And the great minister's days rapidly approaching
their end, the ceremony was performed which made Hortensia, then at
the age of thirteen, Duchess of Mazarine. A few months later the great
cardinal expired, leaving her the sum of one million six hundred and
twenty-five thousand pounds sterling. Alas that she should have died in
poverty, and that her body should have been seized for debt!

Scarce had the first weeks of her married life passed away, when the
young wife found herself mated to one wholly unsuited to her character.
She was beautiful, witty, and frivolous; he jealous, dull, and morose.
The incompatibility of their dispositions became as discernible to him,
as they had become intolerable to her; and, as if to avenge the fate
which had united them, he lost no opportunity of thwarting her desires,
by such means striving to bend her lissom quality to the gnarled shape
of his unhappy nature.

With such a purpose in view no opportunity was neglected to curb her
pleasures or oppose her inclinations. He continually forced her to leave
Paris, and even when her condition required rest and care, compelled
her to accompany him on long and weary journeys, undertaken by him in
consequence of his diplomatic missions. If she received two successive
visits from one man, he was instantly forbidden the house. If she called
her carriage, the coachman received orders not to obey. If she betrayed
a preference for one maid more than another, the favourite was instantly
dismissed, moreover, the duchess was surrounded by spies, her movements
being rigorously watched, and invariably reported. Nor would the duke
vouchsafe an explanation to his young wife regarding the cause of this
severe treatment, but continued the even course of such conduct without
intermission or abatement.

After displaying these eccentricities for some years, they suddenly
associated themselves with religion, when he became a fanatic. Her
condition was now less endurable than before; his whims more ludicrous
and exasperating. With solemnity he declared no one could in conscience
visit the theatre; that it was a sin to play blind man's buff, and
a heinous crime to retire to bed late. And presently, his fanaticism
increasing, he prohibited the woman who nursed his infant to suckle it
on Fridays or Saturdays; that instead of imbibing milk, it might, in
its earliest life, become accustomed to fasting and mortification of the

The young duchess grew hopeless of peace. All day her ears were beset
by harangues setting forth her wickedness, by exortations calling her to
repentance, and by descriptions of visions vouchsafed him. By night her
condition was rendered scarcely less miserable. "No sooner," says St.
Evremond, "were her eyes closed, than Monsieur Mazarine (who had the
devil always present in his black imagination) wakes his best beloved,
to make her partaker--you will never be able to guess of what--to make
her partaker of his nocturnal visions. Flambeaux are lighted, and search
is made everywhere; but no spectre does Madame Mazarine find, except
that which lay by her in the bed."

The distresses to which she was subjected were increased by the
knowledge that her husband was squandering her vast fortune. In
what manner the money was spent she does not state. "If" she writes,
"Monsieur Mazarine had only taken delight in overwhelming me with
sadness and grief, and in exposing my health and my life to his most
unreasonable caprice, and in making me pass the best of my days in
an unparalleled slavery, since heaven had been pleased to make him my
master, I should have endeavoured to allay and qualify my misfortunes by
my sighs and tears. But when I saw that by his incredible dilapidations
and profuseness, my son, who might have been the richest gentleman in
France, was in danger of being the poorest, there was no resisting
the force of nature; and motherly love carried it over all other
considerations of duty, or the moderation I proposed to myself. I saw
every day vast sums go away: moveables of inestimable prices, offices,
and all the rich remains of my uncle's fortune, the fruits of his
labours, and the rewards of his services. I saw as much sold as came to
three millions, before I took any public notice of it; and I had hardly
anything left me of value but my jewels, when Monsieur Mazarine took
occasion to seize upon them."

She therefore sought the king's interference, but as the duke had
interest at court, she received but little satisfaction. Then commenced
disputes, which, after months of wrangling, ended by the duchess
escaping in male attire out of France, in company with a gay young
cavalier, Monsieur de Rohan. After various wanderings through Italy and
many adventures in Savoy, she determined on journeying to England.
That her visit was not without a political motive, we gather from
St. Evremond; who, referring to the ascendancy which the Duchess of
Portsmouth had gained over his majesty, and the uses she made of her
power for the interests of France, tells us, "The advocates for liberty,
being excluded from posts and the management of affairs, contrived
several ways to free their country from that infamous commerce; but
finding them ineffectual, they at last concluded that there was no other
course to take than to work the Duchess of Portsmouth out of the
king's favour, by setting up against her a rival who should be in
their interest. The Duchess of Mazarine was thought very fit for their
purpose, for she outshined the other, both in wit and beauty."

Charles de St. Denis, Seigneur de St. Evremond, was a soldier,
philosopher, and courtier, who had distinguished himself by his bravery,
learning, and politeness. Having fallen under the displeasure of the
French court, he had, in the year 1662, sought refuge in England, where
he had been welcomed with the courtesy due to his rank, and the esteem
which befitted his merits. Settling in the capital, he mixed freely in
the companionship of wits, gallants, and courtiers who constituted its
society; and delighted with London as a residence, he determined on
making England his country by adoption. An old friend and fervent
admirer of the Duchess of Mazarine, he had received the news of her
visit with joy, and celebrated her arrival in verse.

The reputation of her loveliness and the history of her life having
preceded her, the court became anxious to behold her; the king, mindful
of the relationship he had once sought; with the duchess, grew impatient
to welcome her. After a few days' rest, necessary to remedy the fatigue
of her journey, she appeared at Whitehall. By reason of her beauty, now
ripened rather than impaired by time, and those graces which attracted
the more from the fascination they had formerly exercised, she at once
gained the susceptible heart of the monarch. St. Evremond tells us her
person "contained nothing that was not too lovely." In the "Character
of the Duchess of Mazarine," which he drew soon after her arrival in
London, he has presented a portrait of her worth examining not only
for sake of the object it paints, but for the quaint workmanship it
contains. "An ill-natured curiosity," he writes, "makes me scrutinize
every feature in her face, with a design either to meet there some
shocking irregularity, or some disgusting disagreeableness. But how
unluckily do I succeed in my design. Every feature about her has a
particular beauty, that does not in the least yield to that of her eyes,
which, by the consent of all the world, are the finest in the universe.
One thing there is that entirely confounds me: her teeth, her lips, her
mouth, and all the graces that attend it, are lost amongst the great
variety of beauties in her face and what is but indifferent in her, will
not suffer us to consider what is most remarkable in others. The malice
of my curiosity does not stop here. I proceed to spy out some defect in
her shape; and I find I know not what graces of nature so happily and so
liberally scattered in her person, that the genteelness of others only
seems to be constraint and affectation."

The king--to whom the presence of a beautiful woman was as sunshine to
the earth--at once offered her his affections, the gallants tendered
their homage, the ladies of the court volunteered the flattery embodied
in imitation. And by way of practically proving his admiration, his
majesty graciously allotted her a pension of four thousand pounds a
year, with apartments in St. James's Palace.

The sovereignty which the Duchess of Portsmouth had held for five years
over the monarch's heart was now in danger of downfall; and probably
would have ended, but for Madame Mazarine's indiscretions. It happened a
few months after her arrival in London, the Prince of Monaco visited
the capital. Young in years, handsome in person, and extravagant in
expenditure, he dazzled the fairest women at court; none of whom had
so much power to please him in all as the Duchess of Mazarine.
Notwithstanding the king's generosity, she accepted the prince's
admiration; and resolved to risk the influence she had gained, that she
might freely love where she pleased. Her entertainment of a passion, as
sudden in development as fervid in intensity, enraged the king; but his
fury served only to increase her infatuation, seeing which, his majesty
suspended payment of her pension.

The gay Prince of Monaco in due time ending his visit to London,
and leaving the Duchess of Mazarine behind him, she, through the
interposition of her friends, obtained his majesty's pardon, was
received into favour, and again allowed her pension.

She now ruled, not only mistress of the king's heart, but queen of a
brilliant circle of wits and men of parts, whose delight it became to
heed the epigrams and eccentricities which fell from her lips. Her rooms
at St. James's, and her house in Chelsea, became the rendezvous of the
most polite and brilliant society in England. In the afternoons,
seated amongst her monkeys, dogs, parrots, and pets, she discoursed on
philosophy, love, religion, politics, and plays; whilst at night her
saloons were thrown open to such as delighted in gambling. Then the
duchess, seated at the head of the table, her dark eyes flashing with
excitement, her red lips parted in expectation, followed the fortunes
of the night with anxiety: all compliments being suspended and all fine
speeches withheld the while, nought being heard but the rustle of cards
and the chink of gold.

Dainty and luxurious suppers followed, when rare wines flowed, and wit
long suppressed found joyous vent. Here sat Charles beside his beautiful
mistress, happy in the enjoyment of the present, careless of the needs
of his people; and close beside him my Lord of Buckingham, watchful
of his majesty's face, hatching dark plots whilst he turned deft
compliments. There likewise were my Lord Dorset, the easiest and
wittiest man living; Sir Charles Sedley, one learned in intrigue;
Baptist May, the monarch's favourite; Tom Killigrew who jested on life's
follies whilst he enjoyed them; the Countess of Shrewsbury, beautiful
and amorous; and Madam Ellen, who was ready to mimic or sing, dance or
act, for his majesty's diversion.

And so, whilst a new day stole upon the world without, tapers burned low
within the duchess's apartments; and the king, his mistress, and a brave
and gallant company ate, drank, and made merry.


  A storm threatens the kingdom.--The Duke of York is touched in his
  conscience.--His interview with Father Simons.--The king declares his
  mind.--The Duchess of York becomes a catholic.--The circumstances of her
  death.--The Test Act introduced.--Agitation of the nation.--The Duke
  of York marries again.--Lord Shaftesbury's schemes.--The Duke of
  Monmouth.--William of Orange and the Princess Mary.--Their marriage and
  departure from England.

Whilst the surface life of the merry monarch sped onward in its careless
course, watchful eyes took heed of potent signs boding storms and
strife. The storm which shook the kingdom to its centre came anon; the
strife which dethroned a monarch was reserved for the succeeding
reign. These were not effected by the king's profligacy, indolence, or
extravagance, but because of a change in the religious belief of the
heir-apparent to the crown.

The cloud, no bigger than a man's hand, which presently spread and
overcast the political horizon, was first observed towards the beginning
of the year 1669. The Rev. J. S. Clarke, historiographer to George III.,
chaplain to the royal household, and librarian to the Prince Regent, in
his "Life of James II., collected out of Memoirs writ of his own hand,"
tells us that about this time the Duke of York "was sensibly touched
in his conscience, and began to think seriously of his salvation."
Accordingly, the historian states, "he sent for one Father Simons, a
Jesuit, who had the reputation of a very learned man, to discourse with
him upon that subject; and when he came, he told him the good intentions
he had of being a catholic, and treated with him concerning his being
reconciled to the church. After much discourse about the matter, the
Jesuit very sincerely told him, that unless he would quit the communion
of the Church of England, he could not be received into the Catholic
Church. The duke then said he thought it might be done by a dispensation
from the pope, alleging the singularity of his case, and the advantage
it might bring to the catholic religion in general, and in particular to
those of it in England, if he might have such dispensation for outwardly
appearing a protestant, at least till he could own himself publicly to
be a catholic, with more security to his own person and advantage to
them. But the father insisted that even the pope himself had not the
power to grant it, for it was an unalterable doctrine of the Catholic
Church, not to do ill that good might follow. What this Jesuit thus said
was afterwards confirmed to the duke by the pope himself, to whom he
wrote upon the same subject. Till this time his royal highness believed
(as it is commonly believed, or at least said by the Church of England
doctors) that dispensations in any such cases are by the pope easily
granted; but Father Simons's words, and the letter of his holiness, made
the duke think it high time to use all the endeavours he could, to be at
liberty to declare himself, and not to live in so unsafe and so uneasy a

Inasmuch as what immediately followed touches a point of great delicacy
and vast importance, the words of the historian, mainly taken from the
"Stuart Papers," are best given here, "His royal highness well-knowing
that the king was of the same mind, and that his majesty had opened
himself upon it to Lord Arundel of Wardour, Lord Arlington, and Sir
Thomas Clifford, took an occasion to discourse with him upon that
subject about the same time, and found him resolved as to his being
a catholic, and that he intended to have a private meeting with those
persons above named at the duke's closet, to advise with them about the
ways and methods fit to be taken for advancing the catholic religion in
his dominions, being resolved not to live any longer in the constraint
he was under. The meeting was on the 25th of January. When they were met
according to the king's appointment, he declared his mind to them on the
matter of religion, and said how uneasy it was to him not to profess the
faith he believed; and that he had called them together to have their
advice about the ways and methods fittest to be taken for the settling
of the catholic religion in his kingdoms, and to consider of the time
most proper to declare himself, telling them withal that no time
ought to be lost; that he was to expect to meet with many and great
difficulties in bringing it about, and that he chose rather to undertake
it now, when he and his brother were in their full strength and able
to undergo any fatigue, than to delay it till they were grown older and
less fit to go through with so great a design. This he spoke with great
earnestness, and even with tears in his eyes; and added, that they
were to go about it as wise men and good catholics ought to do. The
consultation lasted long, and the result was, that there was no better
way for doing this work than to do it in conjunction with France, and
with the assistance of his Most Christian majesty." Accordingly the
secret treaty with France was entered into, as already mentioned.

No further movement towards professing the catholic religion was made
by the king or his brother for some time. The tendencies of the latter
becoming suspected, his actions were observed with vigilance, when it
was noted, that although he attended service as usual with the king, he
no longer received the sacrament. It was also remarked the Duchess
of York, whose custom it had been to communicate once a month, soon
followed his example. Her neglect of this duty was considered the more
conspicuous as she had been bred a staunch protestant, and ever appeared
zealous in her support of that religion. Moreover, it was noted that,
from the beginning of the year 1670, she was wont to defend the catholic
faith from such errors as it had been charged withal.

These matters becoming subjects of conversation at court soon reached
the ears of Bishop Morley, who had acted as her confessor since her
twelfth year, confession being then much practised in the English
Church. Thereon he hastened to her, and spoke at length of the
inferences which were drawn from her neglect of receiving the sacrament,
in answer to which she pleaded business and ill-health as sufficient
excuses. But he, suspecting other causes, gave her advice, and requested
she would send for him in case doubts arose in her mind concerning the
faith she professed. Being now free from all uncertainties, she readily
promised compliance with his desire, and added, "No priest had ever
taken the confidence to speak to her on those matters."

The fact that she no longer communicated becoming more noticed as time
passed, the king spoke to his brother concerning the omission, when the
duke told him she had become a catholic. Hearing this, Charles requested
him to keep her change of faith a secret, which was accordingly done,
none being aware of the act but Father Hunt, a Franciscan friar, Lady
Cranmer, one of her women of the bedchamber, and Mr. Dupuy, servant
to the duke. In a paper she drew up relative to her adoption of the
catholic religion, preserved in the fifth volume of the "Harleian
Miscellany," she professes being one of the greatest enemies that faith
ever had. She likewise declares no man or woman had said anything, or
used the least persuasion to make her change her religion. That had
been effected, she adds, by a perusal of Dr. Heylin's "History of the
Reformation;" after which she spoke severally to Dr. Sheldon, Archbishop
of Canterbury and Dr. Blandford, Bishop of Worcester, who told her
"there were many things in the Roman Church which it was very much to
be wished they had kept--as confession, which was no doubt commanded by
God; and praying for the dead, which was one of the ancient things in
Christianity--that for their parts they did it daily, though they would
not own to it."

The duchess pondered over what she had read and heard, and being a woman
accustomed to judge for herself, and act upon her decisions, she, in the
month of August, 1670 became a member of the Catholic Church, in which
communion she died seven months later. For fifteen months previous to
her demise she had been suffering from a complication of diseases,
with which the medical skill of that day was unable to cope, and these
accumulating, in March, 1671, ended her days. The "Stuart Papers"
furnish an interesting account of her death. Seeing the hour was at hand
which would sever her from all earthly ties, she besought her husband
not to leave her whilst life remained. She likewise requested that in
case Dr. Blandford or any other of the bishops should come to visit her,
he would tell them she had become a member of the Catholic Church;
but if they insisted on seeing her she was satisfied to admit them,
providing they would not distress her by arguments or controversy.

Soon after she had expressed these desires, Bishop Blandford arrived,
and begged permission to see her, hearing which the duke went into the
drawing-room, where his lordship waited, and delivered the message with
which the duchess had charged him. Thereon the bishop said, "he made no
doubt but that she would do well since she was fully convinced, and had
not changed out of any worldly end." He then went into the room, and
having made "a short Christian exhortation suitable to the condition
she was in," took his departure. Presently the queen came and sat by the
dying woman, with whom she had borne many wrongs in common; and later
on, the Franciscan friar being admitted, the duchess "received all the
last sacraments of the Catholick Church, and dyed with great devotion
and resignation."

Though no mystery was now made concerning the faith in which she died,
the duke, from motives of prudence, continued to preserve the secret
of his having embraced the same religion. He still publicly attended
service on Sundays with the king, but continued to absent himself from
communion. At last, the Christmastide of the year 1672 being at hand,
his majesty besought Lord Arundel and Sir Thomas (now Lord) Clifford to
persuade the duke to take the sacrament with him, "and make him sensible
of the prejudice it would do to both of them should he forbear so to do,
by giving the world so much reason to believe he was a catholick." To
this request these honest gentlemen replied it would be difficult to
move the duke to his majesty's desires; but even if they succeeded, it
would fail to convince the world his royal highness was not a catholic.
With these answers Charles seemed satisfied; but again on Christmas Eve
he urged Lord Clifford to advise the duke to publicly communicate on
the morrow. His royal highness, not being so unscrupulous as the king,
refused compliance with his wishes.

The following Easter he likewise refrained from communicating. Evelyn
tells us that "a most crowded auditorie" had assembled in the Chapel
Royal on this Sunday; possibly it had been drawn there to hear the
eloquence of Dr. Sparrow, Bishop of Exeter--probably to observe the
movements of the king's brother. "I staied to see," writes Evelyn,
"whether, according to costome, the Duke of York received the communion
with the king; but he did not, to the amazement of everybody. This being
the second year he had forborn and put it off, and within a day of the
parliament sitting, who had lately made so severe an act against ye
increase of poperie, gave exceeding griefe and scandal to the whole
nation, that the heyre of it, and ye sonn of a martyr for ye Protestant
religion, should apostatize. What the consequence of this will be God
only knows, and wise men dread."

That the nation might no longer remain in uncertainty concerning the
change the duke was suspected to have made, a bill, commonly called the
"Test Act," was, at the instigation of Lord Shaftesbury, introduced into
the House of Commons, on its reassembling. In substance this set forth,
that all persons holding office, or place of trust, or profit, should
take the oaths of supremacy and allegiance in a public court; receive
the sacrament according to the Church of England in some parish church
on the Lord's Day; and deliver a certificate of having so received
communion, signed by the respective ministers and church-wardens, and
proved by two credible witnesses on oath. After prolonged debates upon
this singular bill, it was passed through both houses of parliament, and
received a reluctant consent from the king. [This act continued in force
until the reign of George IV.]

A great commotion followed the passing of this Act. Immediately the Duke
of York resigned his post of lord high admiral of England. Suspicion now
became certainty; he was truly a papist. His enemies were elated with
triumph, his friends dejected by regret. Before public feeling had time
to subside, it was thoroughly startled by the news that Lord Clifford,
who was supposed to be a staunch protestant, had delivered up his
staff of office as lord treasurer; and Lord Bellasis and Sir Thomas
Strickland, papists both, "though otherwise men of quality and ability,"
had relinquished their places at court. The king was perplexed, the
parliament divided into factions, the nation disturbed. No man knew
who might next proclaim himself a papist. As days passed, excitement
increased; for hundreds who held positions in the army, or under the
crown--many of whom had fought for the king and his father--by tendering
their resignations, now proved themselves slaves of what a vigorous
writer calls the "Romish yoke: such a thing," he adds, "as cannot, but
for want of a name to express it, be called a religion."

Public agitation steadily rose. Evelyn tells us, "he dare not write
all the strange talk of the town." Distrust of the king, fear of his
brother, hatred of popery and papists, filled men's minds and blinded
their reason with prejudice. That the city had seven years ago been
destroyed by fire, in accordance with a scheme of the wicked Jesuits,
was a belief which once more revived: the story of the gunpowder plot
was again detailed. Fearful suspicions sprang up and held possession
of the vulgar mind, that the prosecutions suffered by protestants under
Queen Mary might be repeated in the reign of the present monarch, or of
his brother. That heaven might defend the country from being overrun
by popery, the House of Commons besought his majesty to order a day
of fasting and humiliation. And by way of adding fury to the gathering
tempest, the bishops, Burnet states, "charged the clergy to preach
against popery, which alarmed the court as well as the city, and the
whole nation."

The king therefore complained to Dr. Sheldon, Archbishop of Canterbury,
that the discourse heard in every pulpit throughout the capital and the
kingdom was "calculated to inflame the people, and alienate them from
him and his government." Upon which Dr. Sheldon called the bishops
together, that he might consult with them as to what answer he had best
make. Whereon these wise men declared "since the king himself professed
the protestant religion, it would be a thing without a precedent that
he should forbid his clergy to preach in defence of a religion, while
he himself said he was of it." The next action which served to inflame
public prejudice against catholicism, was the marriage of the Duke of
York to a princess professing that faith.

Soon after the death of his wife, it was considered wise and well his
royal highness should marry again. Of the four sons and four daughters
the duchess had borne him, three sons and one daughter had died before
their mother, and the surviving son and another daughter quickly
followed her to the tomb; therefore, out of eight children but two
survived, Mary and Anne, at this time respectively aged nine and seven.
It being desirable there should be a male heir-presumptive to the crown,
the king was anxious his brother should take unto himself a second wife.
And that a lady might be found worthy of the exalted station to
which such a union would raise her, the Earl of Peterborough was sent
incognito to report on the manners and appearance of the princesses of
the courts of Neuburg and of Modena. Not being impressed by the merits
of those belonging to the former, he betook himself to the latter,
where, seeing the young Princess d'Este, then in her fifteenth year, he
came to the conclusion no better choice could be made on behalf of the
duke than this fair lady. On communicating this opinion to his royal
highness and to his majesty, the king commissioned him to demand the
hand of the princess in marriage for his brother.

Difficulties regarding this desired union now arose. The young lady,
having been bred in great simplicity and ignorance, had never heard of
such a country as England, or such a person as the Duke of York; and
therefore had no mind to adventure herself in a distant land, or wed a
man of whom she knew nought. Moreover, she had betrayed an inclination
to spend her days in the seclusion of a convent, and had no thought of
marriage. Her mother, the Duchess of Modena, then regent, by reason
of her husband's death and her son's minority, was anxious for so
advantageous an alliance. And being unable to gain her daughter's
consent, she sought the interference of the pope, who wrote to the young
princess, that compliance with her mother's request would "most conduce
to the service of God and the public good." On this, Mary Beatrice
Eleonora, Princess d'Este, daughter of the fourth Duke of Modena,
consented to become Duchess of York. Whereon the Earl of Peterborough
made a public entry into Modena, as ambassador extraordinary of Charles
II.; and having agreed to all the articles of marriage, wedded her by
proxy for the royal duke.

Meanwhile, news that the heir to the crown was about to wed a papist
spread with rapidity throughout the kingdom, carrying alarm in its
course. If sons were born of the union, they would, it was believed,
undoubtedly be reared in the religion of their parents, and England in
time became subject to a catholic king. The possibility of such a fate
was to the public mind fraught with horror; and the House of Commons,
after some angry debates on the subject, presented an address to the
king, requesting he would abandon this proposed marriage. To this he
was not inclined to listen, his honour being so far involved in the
business; but notwithstanding his unwillingness, his councillors urged
him to this step, and prayed he would stop the princess, then journeying
through France on her way to England. This so incensed him that he
immediately prorogued parliament, and freed himself from further
interference on the subject.

On the 21st of November, 1673, the future duchess landed at Dover,
where the duke awaited her, attended by a scant retinue. For the recent
protestations, made in the House of Commons against the marriage, having
the effect of scaring the courtiers, few of the nobility, and but one of
the bishops, Dr. Crew of Oxford, ventured to accompany him, or greet his
bride. On the day of her arrival the marriage was celebrated, "according
to the usual form in cases of the like nature." The "Stuart Papers" give
a brief account of the ceremony. "The Duke and Duchess of York, with
the Duchess of Modena her mother, being together in a room where all the
company was present, as also my Lord Peterborough, the bishop asked the
Duchess of Modena and the Earl of Peterborough whether the said earl
had married the Duchess of York as proxy of the duke? which they both
affirming, the bishop then declared it was a lawful marriage."

This unpopular union served to strengthen the gathering storm; Protests
against popery were universally heard; an article in the marriage
settlement, which guaranteed the duchess a public chapel, was broken;
and the duke was advised by Lord Berkshire to retire into the country,
"where he might hunt and pray without offence to any or disquiet to
himself." This counsel he refused to heed. Until his majesty should
command him to the contrary, he said, he would always attend upon him,
and do such service as he thought his duty and the king's security
required of him. His enemies became more wrathful at this reply, more
suspicious of popery, and more fearful of his influence with the king,
They therefore sought to have him removed from his majesty's councils
and presence by act of parliament.

Consequently, when both Houses assembled on the 7th of January,
1674, the lords presented an address to the monarch, praying he would
graciously issue a proclamation, requiring all papists, or reputed
papists, within five miles of London, Westminster, or Southwark, to
depart ten miles from these respective cities, and not return during
this session of Parliament. A few days afterwards an act was introduced
into the House of Commons proposing a second test, impossible for
catholics to accept, the refusal of which would not only render them
incapable of holding any office, civil or military, or of sitting in
either House of Parliament, but "of coming within five miles of the
court." This unjust bill, to which, if it passed both houses, Charles
dared not refuse assent, threw the court and country into a state of
renewed excitement. Knowing it was a blow levelled at the duke, his
friends gathered round him, determined to oppose it by might and main;
and after great exertions caused a clause to be inserted excepting his
royal highness from the test. This was ultimately carried by a majority
of two votes, which, says Clarke, "put the little Earl of Shaftesbury
so out of humour, that he said he did not care what became of the bill,
having that proviso in it."

This noble earl, who was chief among the royal duke's enemies, was a
prominent figure in the political history of the time. Mr. Burnet tells
us his lordship's strength lay in the knowledge of England, and of all
considerable men. "He understood," says the bishop, "the size of their
understandings and their tempers; and he knew how to apply himself to
them so dexterously, that though by his changing sides so often it was
very visible how little he was to be depended on, yet he was to the last
much trusted by all the discontented party. He had no regard to truth
or justice." As rich in resources as he was poor in honour, he renewed a
plan for depriving the Duke of York from succession to the crown; which,
though it had failed when formerly attempted, he trusted might now
succeed. This was to declare the Duke of Monmouth the king's legitimate
son and heir to the throne of England, a scheme which the ambitious son
of Lucy Walters was eager to forward.

His majesty's affection for him had strengthened with time, and his
favours had been multiplied by years. On the death of the Duke of
Albemarle, Captain General of the Forces, Monmouth had been appointed
to that high office; and some time later had been made General of
the Kingdom of Scotland, posts of greatest importance. Relying on the
monarch's love and the people's admiration for this illegitimate scion
of royalty, Lord Shaftesbury hoped to place him on the throne. As the
first step necessary in this direction was to gain his majesty's avowal
of a union with Lucy Walters, he ventured on broaching the subject to
the king; at which Charles was so enraged that he declared, "much as he
loved the Duke of Monmouth, he had rather see him hanged at Tyburn than
own him as his legitimate son." There was, however, another man engaged
in a like design to the noble earl, who, if not less scrupulous, was
more daring.

This was one Ross, a Scotsman, who had been made governor of the young
duke on his first coming into England, and who had since acted as his
friend and confidant. Now Ross, who had not failed to whisper ambitious
thoughts into his pupil's head, at this time sought Dr. Cosin, Bishop
of Durham, and according to the "Stuart Papers," told him "he might do
a great piece of service to the Church of England in keeping out popery,
if he would but sign a certificate of the king's marriage to the Duke of
Monmouth's mother, with whom that bishop was acquainted in Paris. Ross
also told the bishop, to make the thing more easy to him, that during
his life the certificate should not be produced or made use of." The
same papers state that, as a bishop's certificate is a legal proof of
marriage, Dr. Cosin's compliance would have been invaluable to the duke
and his friends. His lordship, however, rejected the proposition, and
laid the matter before the king, who expelled Ross from court.

Horror of popery and fear of a papist sovereign increased with time,
care having been taken by my Lord Shaftesbury and his party that the
public mind, once inflamed, should be kept ignited. For this purpose he
spread reports abroad that the Irish were about to rise in rebellion,
backed by the French; and that the papists in London had entered into a
vile conspiracy to put their fellow citizens to the sword on the first
favourable opportunity. To give this latter statement a flavour of
reality he, assuming an air of fright, betook himself one night to the
city, and sought refuge in the house of a fanatic, in order, he said,
that he might escape the catholics, who had planned to cut his throat.

A tempest, dark and dangerous, was gathering fast, which the court felt
powerless to subdue. The king's assurance to parliament that "he would
endeavour to satisfy the world of his steadfastness for the security of
the protestant religion," had little avail in soothing the people. Many
of them suspected him to be a catholic at heart; others knew he had
accepted the bounty of a country feared and detested by the nation.
Deeds, not words, could alone dispel the clouds of prejudice which
came between him and his subjects; and accordingly he set about the
performance of such acts as might bring reconciliation in their train.

The first of these was the confirmation, according to the Protestant
Church, of the Lady Mary, eldest daughter of the Duke of York, and after
him heir presumptive to the crown; the second and more important was the
marriage of that princess to William of Orange. This prince was son of
the king's eldest sister, and therefore grandson of Charles I. As a hero
who, by virtue of his statesmanship and indomitable courage, had rescued
Holland from the hateful power of France, he was regarded not only
as the saviour of his country, but as the protector of protestantism.
Already a large section of the English nation turned their eyes towards
him as one whom they might elect some day to weald the sceptre of
Great Britain. Subtle, ambitious, and determined, a silent student of
humanity, a grave observer of politics, a sagacious leader in warfare,
he had likewise begun to look forward towards the chances of succeeding
his uncle in the government of England--in hopes of which he had been
strengthened by the private overtures made him by Shaftesbury, and
sustained by the public prejudices exhibited against the Duke of York.

The proposed union between him and the heiress presumptive to the crown
was regarded by the nation with satisfaction, and by the prince as an
act strongly favouring the realization of his desires for sovereignty.
Cold and grave in temperament, sickly and repulsive in appearance, blunt
and graceless in manner, he was by no means an ideal bridegroom for a
fair princess; but neither she nor her father had any choice given them
in a concern so important to the pacification of the nation. She, it
was whispered at court, had previously given her heart to a brave young
Scottish laird; and her father, it was known, had already taken an
instinctive dislike to the man destined to usurp his throne. In October,
1677, the Prince of Orange came to England, ostensibly to consult with
King Charles regarding the establishment of peace between France and
the Confederates; but the chief motive of his visit was to promote
his marriage, which had some time before been proposed, and owing to
political causes had been coolly received by him. Now, however, his
anxiety for the union was made plain to the king, who quickly agreed to
his desires. "Nephew," said he to the sturdy Dutchman, "it is not good
for man to be alone, and I will give you a help meet for you; and so,"
continues Burnet, "he told him he would bestow his niece on him."

The same afternoon the monarch informed his council that "the Prince of
Orange, desiring a more strict alliance with England by marriage with
the Lady Mary, he had consented to it, as a thing he looked on as very
proper to unite the family, and which he believed would be agreeable to
his people, and show them the care he had of religion, for which reason
he thought it the best alliance he could make." When his majesty had
concluded this speech, the Duke of York stepped forward, and declared
his consent to the marriage. He hoped "he had now given a sufficient
testimony of his right intentions for the public good, and that people
would no more say he designed altering the government in church or
state; for whatever his opinion on religion might be, all that he
desired was, that men might not be molested merely for conscience'

The duke then dined at Whitehall with, the king, the Prince of Orange,
and a noble company; after which he returned to St. James's, where he
then resided. Dr. Edward Luke, at this time tutor to the Lady Mary, and
subsequently Archdeacon of Exeter, in his interesting manuscript diary,
informs us that on reaching the palace, the duke, with great tenderness
and fatherly affection, took his daughter aside, "and told her of the
marriage designed between her and the Prince of Orange; whereupon her
highness wept all that afternoon and the following day." Her tears
had not ceased to flow when, two days after the announcement of her
marriage, Lord Chancellor Finch, on behalf of the council, came to
congratulate her; and Lord Chief Justice Rainsford, on the part of the
judges, complimented her in extravagant terms.

This union, which the bride regarded with so much repugnance, was
appointed to take place on the 4th of November, that date being the
bridegroom's birthday, as likewise the anniversary of his mother's
nativity. Dr. Luke gives a quaint account of the ceremony. "At nine
o'clock at night," he writes, "the marriage was solemnized in her
highness's bedchamber. The king; who gave her away, was very pleasant
all the while; for he desired that the Bishop of London would make haste
lest his sister [the Duchess of York] should be delivered of a son, and
so the marriage be disappointed. And when the prince endowed her with
all his worldly goods [laying gold and silver on the book], he willed to
put all up in her pockett, for 'twas clear gains. At eleven o'clock they
went to bed, when his majesty came and drew the curtains, saying, 'Hey!
St. George for England!'"

For a time both court and town seemed to forget the trouble and strife
which beset them. Bonfires blazed in the streets, bells rang from church
towers, the populace cheered lustily; whilst at Whitehall there were
many brilliant entertainments. These terminated with a magnificent ball,
held on the 15th instant, the queen's birthday; at the conclusion of
this festivity the bride and bridegroom were to embark in their yacht,
which was to set sail next morning for Holland. For this ball the
princess had "attired herself very richly with all her jewels;" but
her whole appearance betrayed a sadness she could not suppress in the
present, and which the future did not promise to dispel. For already the
bridegroom, whom the maids of honour had dubbed the "Dutch monster" and
"Caliban," had commenced to reveal glimpses of his unhandsome character;
"and the court began to whisper of his sullennesse or clownishnesse,
that he took no notice of his princess at the playe and balle, nor came
to see her at St. James', the day preceding that designed for their

The wind being easterly, they were detained in England until the 19th,
when, accompanied by the king, the Duke of York, and several persons of
quality, they went in barges from Whitehall to Greenwich. The princess
was sorely grieved, and wept unceasingly. When her tutor "kneeled down
and kissed her gown" at parting, she could not find words to speak, but
turned her back that she might hide her tears; and, later on, when
the queen "would have comforted her with the consideration of her own
condition when she came into England, and had never till then seen the
king, her highness replied, 'But, madam, you came into England; but I am
going out of England.'"


  The threatened storm bursts.--History of Titus Oates and Dr. Tonge.--A
  dark scheme concocted.--The king is warned of danger.--The narrative of
  a horrid plot laid before the treasurer.--Forged letters.--Titus Oates
  before the council.--His blunders.--A mysterious murder.--Terror of the
  citizens.--Lord Shaftesbury's schemes.--Papists are banished from the
  capital.--Catholic peers committed to the Tower.--Oates is encouraged.

The marriage of the Lady Mary, though agreeable to the public mind, by
no means served to distract it from the turmoil by which it was beset.
Hatred of catholicism, fear of the Duke of York, and distrust of the
king, disturbed the nation to its core. Rumours were now noised abroad,
which were not without foundation, that the monarch and his brother had
renewed the treaty with France, by which Louis engaged to send troops
into England to support Charles, when the latter saw fit to lay aside
duplicity, and proclaim himself a catholic. And, notwithstanding the
rigorous Test Acts, it was believed many high positions at court were
held by those who were papists at heart. Occasion was therefore ripe
for the invention of a monstrous fraud, the history of which has been
transmitted under the title of the Popish Plot.

The chief contrivers of this imposture were Titus Oates and Dr. Tonge.
The first of these was son of a ribbon-weaver, who, catching the
fanatical spirit of the Cromwellian period, had ranted as an Anabaptist
preacher. Dissent, however, losing favour under the restoration, Oates,
floating with the current of the times, resolved to become a clergyman
of the Church of England, He therefore took orders at Cambridge,
officiated as curate in various parishes, and served as chaplain on
board a man-of-war. The time he laboured as spiritual shepherd to
his respective flocks was necessarily brief; for his grossly immoral
practices becoming notable, he was in every case ousted from his charge.
The odium attached to his name was moreover increased by the fact,
that his evidence in two cases of malicious prosecution had been proved
false; for which he had been tried as a perjurer. Deprived of his
chaplaincy for a revolting act of profligacy, driven from congregations
he had scandalized, homeless and destitute, he in an evil hour betook
himself to Dr. Ezrael Tonge, to whom he had long been known, and
besought compassion and relief.

The Rev, Dr. Tonge, rector of St. Michael's, Wood Street, was a
confirmed fanatic and political alarmist. For some years previous to
this time, he had published quarterly treatises dealing with such wicked
designs of the Jesuits as his heated brain devised. These he had printed
and freely circulated, in order, as he acknowledged, "to arouse and
awaken his majesty and the parliament" to a sense of danger. He had
begun life as a gardener, but left that honest occupation that he might
cultivate flowers of rhetoric for the benefit of Cromwell's soldiers.
Like Titus Oates, he had become suddenly converted to orthodox
principles on return of the king, and had, through interest, obtained
the rectorship of St. Michael's. Bishop Burnet considered him "a very
mean divine, (who) seemed credulous and simple, and was full of projects
and notions."

Another historian who lived in those days, the Rev. Laurence Eachard,
Archdeacon of Stowe, states Dr. Tonge was "a man of letters, and had a
prolific head filled with all the Romish plots and conspiracies since
the reformation." According to this author, Tonge took Oates into his
house, provided him with lodging, diet, and clothes; and when the latter
complained he knew not where to get bread, the rector told him "he would
put him in a way." After this, finding Oates a man of great ingenuity
and cunning, "he persuaded him," says Archdeacon Eachard, "to insinuate
himself among the papists, and get particular acquaintance with them;
which being effected, he let him understand that there had been several
plots in England to bring in popery, and that if he would go beyond
sea among the Jesuits, and strictly observe their ways, it was possible
there might be one at present; and if he could make that out, it would
be his preferment for ever; but, however, if he could get their names,
and some information from the papists, it would be very easy to rouse
people with the fears of popery."

Hungering for gold, and thirsting for notoriety, Oates quickly agreed to
the scheme laid before him. Accordingly he became acquainted with, and
was received into the Catholic Church by, Father Berry, a Jesuit, and in
May, 1677, was sent by the Jesuits to study in one of their seminaries,
situated in Valladolid, in Spain. Oates, however, though he had proved
himself an excellent actor, could not overcome his evil propensities,
and before seven months had passed, he was expelled from the monastery.

Returning to England, he sought out Dr. Tonge, to whom he was unable
to recount the secret of a single plot. Confident, however, that wicked
schemes against the lives and properties of innocent protestants were
being concocted by wily Jesuits, the fanatical divine urged Oates to
present himself once more before them, bewail his misconduct, promise
amendment, and seek readmission to their midst. Following his advice,
Oates was again received by the Jesuits, and sent to their famous
seminary at St. Omer's; where, though he had reached the age of thirty
years, he was entered among the junior students. For six months he
remained here, until his vices becoming noted, he was turned away in
disgrace. Again he presented himself before the rector of St. Michael's,
knowing as little of popish plots as he did on his previous return. But
Tonge, though disappointed, was not disheartened; if no scheme existed,
he would invent one which should startle the public, and save the
nation. Such proposals as he made towards the accomplishment of this
end were readily assented to by Oates, in whose breast wounded pride
and bitter hate rankled deep. Therefore, after many consultations they
resolved to draw up a "Narrative of a Horrid Plot." This was repeatedly
changed and enlarged, until eventually it assumed the definite shape of
a deposition, consisting of forty-three distinct articles, written
with great formality and care, and embodying many shocking and criminal

The narrative declared that in April, 1677, the deponent was employed
to carry letters from the Jesuits in London to members of their order in
Spain; these he broke open on the journey, and discovered that certain
Jesuits had been sent into Scotland to encourage the presbyterians
to rebel. Arrived in Valladolid, he heard one Armstrong, in a
sermon delivered to students, charge his majesty with most foul and
black-mouthed scandals, and use such irreverent, base expressions as no
good subjects could repeat without horror. He then returned to England,
and was soon after sent to St. Omer with fresh letters, in which was
mentioned a design to stab or poison his majesty--Pere la Chaise,
the French king's confessor, having placed ten thousand pounds at the
disposal of the Jesuits that they might, by laying out such a sum, the
more successfully accomplish this deed. While abroad the deponent
had read many letters, relating to the execution of Charles II., the
subverting of the present government, and the establishment of the
Romish religion. Returning again to England, he became privy to a treaty
with Sir George Wakeham, the queen's physician, to poison the king; and
likewise with an agreement to shoot him, made between the Jesuits and
two men, named Honest William and Pickering. He had heard a Jesuit
preach a sermon to twelve persons of quality in disguise, in which he
asserted "that protestants and other heretical princes were IPSO FACTO
deposed because such; and that it was as lawful to destroy them as
Oliver Cromwell or any other usurper." He also became aware that
the dreadful fire had been managed by Strange, the provincial of the
Jesuits, who employed eighty-six men in distributing seven hundred
fire-balls to destroy the city; and that notwithstanding his vast
expenses, he gained fourteen thousand pounds by plunder carried on
during the general confusion, a box of jewels, consisting of a thousand
carat weight of diamonds, being included in the robbery.

The document containing these remarkable statements was finished in
August, 1678. It now remained to have it brought before the king or
the council. Tonge was resolved this should be done in a manner best
calculated to heighten the effect of their narrative; at the same time
he was careful to guard the fact that he and Oates had an intimate
knowledge of each other. Not knowing any one of interest at court, he
sought out Christopher Kirby, a man employed in the king's laboratory,
of whom he had some slight knowledge, and, pledging him to the strictest
secrecy, showed him the "Narrative of the Horrid Plot," and besought
his help in bringing it under the notice of his majesty in as private a
manner as possible.

This aid was freely promised; and next day, the date being the 13th of
August, when the monarch was about to take his usual airing in the park,
Kirby drew near, and in a mysterious tone bade his majesty take care,
for his enemies had a design against his life, which might be put into
execution at any moment. Startled by such words, the king asked him
in what manner was it intended his life should be taken; to which he
replied, "It might be by pistol; but that to give a more particular
account of the matter, required greater privacy." The monarch, who
quickly recovered his first surprise, resolved to take his usual
exercise; and, subduing his curiosity, he bade Kirby attend him on his
return from the park, and tell him what he knew of the subject.

When the time arrived, Kirby saw his majesty alone, and related to him
in brief that two men waited but an opportunity to shoot him; and Sir
George Wakeham had been hired to poison him; which news, he concluded,
had been imparted to him by a worthy man living close at hand, who would
attend his majesty's pleasure when that was manifested.

Bewildered by such intelligence, yet suspicious of its veracity,
the king ordered Kirby to summon his informant that evening by eight
o'clock. When that hour came his majesty repaired to the Red Room, and
there met Dr. Tonge, who delivered his narrative into his hands. The
rector was convinced the great moment he had so long awaited, in which
he would behold the monarch aroused to a sense of his danger, had
arrived. He was doomed to bitter disappointment. His majesty coolly took
the narrative, and without opening it, said it should be examined into.
On this Tonge begged it might be kept safe and secret, "lest the full
discovery should otherwise be prevented and his life endangered." The
monarch replied that, before starting with the court to-morrow for
Windsor, he would place it in the hands of one he could trust, and
who would answer for its safety. He then bade him attend on the Lord
Treasurer Danby next morning.

In obedience to this command, Tonge waited on his lordship at the
appointed time, and by the character of his replies helped to develop
his story of the plot. When asked if the document he had given his
majesty was the original of the deponent, Tonge admitted it was in
his own handwriting. On this, Lord Danby expressed a desire to see
the original, and likewise become acquainted with its author. Nothing
abashed, the rector replied the manuscript was in his house, and
accounted for its possession by stating that, singularly enough, it had
been thrust under his door--he did not know by whom, but fancied it must
be by one who, some time before, had discussed with him on the subject
of this conspiracy. Whereon his lordship asked him if he knew the man,
and was answered he did not, but he had seen him lately two or three
times in the streets, and it was likely he should see him soon again.

Being next questioned as to whether he had any knowledge of Honest
William, or Pickering, the villains who sought the king's life, he
answered he had not. Immediately, however, he remembered it was their
habit to walk in St. James's Park, and said, if any man was appointed to
keep him company, he was almost certain he would have opportunities of
letting that person see these abominable wretches. Finally, Lord Danby
asked him if he knew where they dwelt, for it was his duty to have them
arrested at once; but of their abode Tonge was completely ignorant,
though he was hopeful he should speedily be able to obtain the required

He was therefore dismissed, somewhat to his satisfaction, being
unprepared for such particular examination; but in a couple of days he
returned to the charge, determined his tale should not be discredited
for lack of effrontery, On this occasion he said he had met the man he
suspected of being author of the document, who owned himself as such,
and stated that his name was Titus Oates, but requested Tonge would keep
it a strict secret, "because the papists would murder him if they knew
what he was doing." Moreover, Oates had given him a second paper full of
fresh horrors concerning this most foul plot. Taking this with him,
the lord treasurer hastened to Windsor, that he might consult the king,
having first left a servant with Tonge, in hopes the latter might catch
sight of Honest William and Pickering in their daily walk through the
park, and have them arrested. On Danby recounting Tonge's statements to
the king, his majesty was more convinced than before the narrative was
wholly without foundation, and refused to make it known to his council
or the Duke of York. Therefore the lord-treasurer, on conclusion of
a brief visit, left Windsor for his country residence, situated at

For some days no fresh disclosure was made concerning this horrid plot,
until late one night, when Dr. Tonge arrived in great haste at Lord
Danby's house, and informed him some of the intended regicides
had resolved on journeying to Windsor next morning, determined to
assassinate the king. He added, it was in his power to arrange that
the earl's servant should ride with them in their coach, or at least
accompany them on horseback, and so give due notice of their arrival, in
order that they might be timely arrested. Alarmed by this intelligence,
Danby at once hastened to Windsor, and informed the king of what had
come to his knowledge. Both endured great suspense that night, and next
day their excitement was raised to an inordinate pitch by seeing the
earl's servant ride towards the castle with all possible speed. When,
however, the man was brought into his majesty's presence, he merely
delivered a message from Dr. Tonge, stating the villains "had been
prevented from taking their intended journey that day, but they proposed
riding to Windsor next day, or within two days at farthest." Before
that time had arrived, another message came to say, "one of their horses
being slipped in the shoulder, their trip to Windsor was postponed."

Taking these foolish excuses, as well as Dr. Tonge's prevaricating
answers and mysterious statements, into consideration, the king was now
convinced the "Narrative of a Horrid Plot" was an invention of a fanatic
or a rogue. He was, therefore; desirous of letting the subject drop into
obscurity; but Lord Danby, foreseeing in the sensation which its avowal
would create, a welcome cloud to screen the defects of his policy, which
parliament intended to denounce, urged his majesty to lay the matter
before his privy council. This advice the king refused to accept,
saying, "he should alarm all England, and put thoughts of killing
him into people's heads, who had no such ideas before." Somewhat
disappointed, the lord treasurer returned once more to Wimbledon, the
king remaining at Windsor, and no further news of the plot disturbed the
even tenour of their lives for three days.

At the end of that time Dr. Tonge, now conscious of the false steps
he had taken, conceived a fresh scheme by which his story might obtain
credence, and he gain wealth and fame. Accordingly he wrote to Danby,
informing him a packet of letters, written by the Jesuits and concerning
the plot, would, on a certain date, be sent to Mr. Bedingfield, chaplain
to the Duchess of York. Such information was most acceptable to Danby
at the moment; he at once started for Windsor, and laid this fresh
information before the king. To his lordship's intense surprise, his
majesty handed him the letters. These, five in number, containing
treasonable expressions and references to the plot, had been some hours
before handed by Mr. Bedingfield to the Duke of York, saying, he "feared
some ill was intended him by the same packet, because the letters
therein seemed to be of a dangerous nature, and that he was sure they
were not the handwriting of the persons whose names were subscribed
to the letters." On examination, they were proved to be most flagrant
forgeries. Written in a feigned hand, and signed by different names,
they were evidently the production of one man; the same want of
punctuation, style of expression, and peculiarities of spelling being
notable in all. The Duke of York, foreseeing malice was meant by them,
forcibly persuaded the king to place the epistles before the privy
council. Accordingly, they were handed to Sir William Jones, attorney
general, and Sir Robert Southwell, who stated, upon comparing them with
Dr. Tonge's narrative, they were convinced both were written by the same

Meanwhile, Tonge and Oates, aware of the coldness and doubt with
which his majesty had received the "Narrative of the Horrid Plot," and
ignorant of the fact he had placed the letters before his privy council,
resolved to make their story public to the world. It therefore happened
on the 6th of September they presented themselves before Sir Edmondbury
Godfrey, a justice of the peace, in the parish of St. Martin's, who, not
without considerable persuasion, consented to receive a sworn testimony
from Titus Oates regarding the truth of his narrative, which had now
grown from forty-three to eighty-one articles. This action prevented
further secrecy concerning the so-called plot.

A few days later the court returned to town for the winter, when the
Duke of York besought the privy council to investigate the strange
charges made in the declaration. Accordingly, on the 28th of the month,
Tonge and Oates were summoned before it, when the latter, making many
additions to his narrative, solemnly affirmed its truth. Aghast at
so horrible a relation, the council knew not what to credit. The evil
reputation Oates had borne, the baseness of character he revealed in
detailing his actions as a spy, the mysterious manner in which the
fanatical Tonge accounted for his possession of the document, tended
to make many doubt; whilst others, believing no man would have the
hardihood to bring forward such charges without being able to sustain
them by proof, contended it was their duty to sift them to the end.
Believing if he had been entrusted with secret letters and documents of
importance, he would naturally retain some of them in order to prove his
intended charges, the council asked Oates to produce them; but of these
he had not one to show. Nor, he confessed, could he then furnish proof
of his words, but promised if he were provided with a guard, and given
officers and warrants, he would arrest certain persons concerned in the
plot, and seize secret documents such as none could dispute. These being
granted him, he immediately caused eight Jesuits to be apprehended and
imprisoned. Then he commenced a search for treasonable letters, not only
in their houses, but in the homes of such catholics as were noted for
their zeal. His investigations were awaited with impatience; nor were
they without furnishing some pretext for his accusations.

One of the first dwellings which Titus Oates investigated was that of
Edward Coleman. This gentleman, the son of an English divine, had
early in life embraced catholicity, for the propagation of which he
thenceforth became most zealous. Coming under notice of the court, he
became the confidant of the Duke of York, and by him was made secretary
to the duchess. A man of great mental activity, religious fervour, and
considerable ambition, he had, about four years previous to this time,
entered into a correspondence with the confessor of the French king
and other Jesuits, regarding the hopes he entertained of Charles II.
professing catholicity. Knowing him to be bold in his designs and
incautious in his actions, the duke had discharged him from his post as
secretary to the duchess, but had retained him in his dependence. This
latter circumstance, together with a suspicion of the confidence which
had existed between him and his royal highness, prompted Oates to have
him arrested, and his house searched. Coleman, having received notice
of this design, fled from his home, incautiously leaving behind him some
old letters and copies of communications which had passed between him
and the Jesuits. These were at once seized, and though not containing
one expression which could be construed as treasonable, were, from
expectations they set forth of seeing catholicity re-established in
England, considered by undiscerning judges, proofs of the statements
made by Oates.

On the strength of his discovery, Oates hastened to Sir Edmondbury
Godfrey, and swore false informations; becoming aware of which, Coleman,
conscious of his innocence, delivered himself up, in hopes of meeting a
justice never vouchsafed him.

The Privy council now sat morning and evening, in order to examine
Oates, whose evidence proved untrustworthy and contradictory to a
bewildering degree. When it was pointed out to him the five letters,
supposed to come from men of education, contained ill-spelling, bad
grammar, and other faults, he, with much effrontery, declared it was a
common artifice among the Jesuits to write in that manner, in order
to avoid recognition; but inasmuch as real names were attached to the
epistles, that argument was not considered just. The subject was
not mentioned again. When an agent for these wicked men in Spain, he
related, he had been admitted into the presence of Don John, and had
seen him counting out large sums of money, with which he intended to
reward Sir George Wakeham when he had poisoned the king. Hearing this,
his majesty inquired what kind of person Don John was. Oates said he was
tall, lean, and black; whereas the monarch knew him to be small, stout,
and fair. And on another occasion, when asked where he had heard the
French king's confessor hire an assassin to shoot Charles, he replied,
"At the Jesuits' monastery close by the Louvre;" at which the king,
losing patience with the impostor, cried out, "Tush, man! the Jesuits
have no house within a mile of the Louvre!" Presently Oates named two
catholic peers, Lord Arundel of Wardour and Lord Bellasis, as being
concerned in the plot, when the king again spoke to him, saying these
lords had served his father faithfully, and fought his wars bravely, and
unless proof were clear against them, he would not credit they sought
him ill. Then Oates, seeing he had gone too far, said they did not know
of the conspiracy, but it had been intended to acquaint them with it in
good time. Later on he swore falsely against them.

Meanwhile the wildest sensation was caused by the revelations of this
"hellish plot and attempt to murder the king." The public mind, long
filled with hatred of papacy, was now inflamed to a degree of fury which
could only be quenched by the blood of many victims. To the general
sensation which obtained, a new terror was promptly added by the
occurrence of a supposed horrible and mysterious murder.

On the evening of Saturday, the 12th of October, Sir Edmondbury Godfrey
was missing from his home in the parish of St. Martin's. The worthy
magistrate was an easy going bachelor of portly appearance, much given
to quote legal opinions in his discourse, and to assert the majesty of
the law as represented in his person. He was alike respected for his
zeal by the protestants, and esteemed for his lenity by the catholics.
Bishop Burnet records the worthy knight "was not apt to search for
priests or mass-houses;" and Archdeacon Eachard affirms "he was well
known to be a favourer rather than a prosecutor of the papists."
Accordingly, his disappearance at first begot no evil suspicions; but as
he did not return on Monday, his servants became alarmed at the absence
of a master whose regularity was proverbial. His brothers were of
opinion he was in debt, and sought escape from his creditors; whilst his
friends, after their kind, were ready to name certain houses of doubtful
repute in which they were certain he had taken temporary lodgings. On
his papers being examined, it was found he had set his affairs in
order, paid all his debts, and destroyed a quantity of his letters and
documents. It was then remembered he had been occasionally susceptible
to melancholia--a disease he inherited from his father, who had perished
by his own hand. It was noted some days before that on which he was
missed, he had appeared listless and depressed. It was known the
imprisonment of his friend Coleman had weighed heavily on his spirits.
A terrible fear now taking possession of his relatives and friends,
thorough search was made for him, which proved vain until the Thursday
following his disappearance, when he was accidentally discovered lying
in a ditch, a cloth knotted round his neck, and a sword passed through
his body, "at or near a place called Primrose Hill, in the midway
between London and Hampstead."

If he had been murdered, no motive appeared to account for the deed;
neither robbery nor revenge could have prompted it. His rings and money,
gloves and cane, were found on and near his body; and it was known he
had lived in peace with all men. Nor did an inquest lasting two days
throw any light upon the mystery. If it were proved he had died by his
own hand, the law of that day would not permit his brothers to inherit
his property, which was found to be considerable. It was therefore their
interest to ignore the fact that strangulation pointed to FELO DE SE,
and to assume he had been murdered. Accordingly they prohibited
the surgeons from opening the body, lest examination should falsify
conclusions at which they desired to arrive. A verdict was ultimately
returned "that he was murdered by certain persons unknown to the jurors,
and that his death proceeded from suffocation and strangling by a
certain piece of linen cloth of no value."

Occurring at such a moment, his death was at once attributed to the
papists, who, it was said, being incensed that the magistrate had
received the sworn testimonies of Oates, had sought this bloody revenge.
Fear now succeeded bewilderment; desires of vengeance sprang from depths
of horror. For two days the mangled remains of the poor knight were
exposed to public view, "and all that saw them went away inflamed." They
were then interred with all the pomp and state befitting one who had
fallen a victim to catholicism, a martyr to protestantism. The funeral
procession, which took its sad way through the principal thoroughfares
from Bridewell to St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, numbered seventy-two
divines, and over twelve hundred persons of quality and consideration.
Arriving at the church, Dr. Lloyd, a clergyman remarkable for his fine
abhorrence of papists, ascended the pulpit, where, protected by two men
of great height and strength, he delivered a discourse, pointing to
the conclusion that Sir Edmondbury Godfrey had been sacrificed to the
catholic conspiracy, and instigating his hearers to seek revenge. Sir
Roger North tells us the crowd in and about the church was prodigious,
"and so heated, that anything called papist, were it cat or dog, had
probably gone to pieces in a moment. The catholics all kept close in
their houses and lodgings, thinking it a good composition to be safe

The whole city was terror-stricken. "Men's spirits were so sharpened,"
says Burnet, "that it was looked on as a very great happiness that the
people did not vent their fury upon the papists about the town." Tonge
and Oates went abroad protected by body guards, arresting hundreds of
catholics; cannon were mounted around Whitehall and St. James's; patrols
paraded the streets by day and night; the trained bands were ready to
fall in at a moment's notice; preparations were made for barricading
the principal thoroughfares; the city gates were kept closed so that
admission could be only had through the wickets; and the Houses of
Parliament demanded a guard should keep watch on the vaults over which
they sat, lest imitators of Guy Fawkes might blow them to pieces.
Moreover, it was not alone the safety of the multitude, but the
protection of the individual which was sought to be secured. In the
dark confusion which general terror produced, each man felt he might be
singled out as the next victim of this diabolical plot, and therefore
devised means to guard his life from the hands of murderous papists.
North, in his "Examen," speaking of this period, tells us: "There was
much recommendation of silk armour, and the prudence of being provided
with it against the time the Protestants were to be massacred. And,
accordingly, there were abundance of those silken back, breast, and
headpots made and sold, that were pretended to be pistol proof; in which
any man dressed up was as safe as in a house, for it was impossible
anyone could go to strike him for laughing; so ridiculous was the
figure, as they say, of hogs in armour. This was the armour of defence;
but our sparks were not altogether so tame as to carry their provision
no further, for truly they intended to be assailants upon fair occasion,
and had for that end recommended also to them a certain pocket weapon,
which for its design and efficacy had the honour to be called a
protestant flail. It was for street and crowd work; and the engine
lurking perdue in a coat pocket, might readily sally out to execution,
and so, by clearing a great hall, or piazza or so, carry an election
by a choice of polling called knocking down. The handle resembled a
farrier's blood stick, and the fall was joined to the end by a strong
nervous ligature, that in its swing fell just short of the hand, and was
made of LIGNUM VITAE, or rather, as the poet termed it, MORTIS."

One day, whilst the town was in this state of consternation, Tonge sent
for Dr. Burnet, who hastened to visit him in the apartments allotted him
and Oates at Whitehall. The historian says he found Tonge "so lifted up
that he seemed to have lost the little sense he had. Oates came in," he
continues, "and made me a compliment that I was one that was marked out
to be killed. He had before said the same to Stillingfleet of him. But
he had made that honour which he did us too cheap, when he said Tonge
was to be served in the same manner, because he had translated 'The
Jesuits' Morals' into English. He broke out into great fury against the
Jesuits, and said he would have their blood. But I, to divert him from
that strain, asked him what were the arguments that prevailed on him to
change his religion and to go over to the Church of Rome? He upon that
stood up, and laid his hands on his breast, and said, 'God and His holy
angels knew that he had never changed, but that he had gone among them
on purpose to betray them.' This gave me such a character of him, that I
could have no regard to anything he said or swore after that."

The agitation now besetting the public mind had been adroitly fanned
into flame by the evil genius of Lord Shaftesbury. Eachard states that
if he was not the original contriver of this disturbance, "he was at
least the grand refiner and improver of all the materials. And so much
he seemed to acknowledge to a nobleman of his acquaintance, when he
said, 'I will not say who started the game, but I am sure I had the full
hunting of it.'" In the general consternation which spread over the land
he beheld a means that might help the fulfilment of his strong desires.
Chief among these were the exclusion of the Duke of York from the
throne, and the realization of his own inordinate ambition. A deist in
belief, he abhorred catholicism; a worshipper of self, he longed for
power. He had boasted Cromwell had wanted to crown him king, and he
narrated to Burnet that a Dutch astrologer had predicted he would yet
fill a lofty position. He had long schemed and dreamed, and now it
seemed the result of the one and fulfilment of the other were at
hand. The pretended discovery of this plot threatened to upheave the
established form of government, for the king was one at heart with those
about to be brought to trial and death. A quarter of a century had not
passed since a bold and determined man had risen up and governed Great
Britain. Why should not history repeat itself in this respect? the
prospect was alluring. Possessing strong influence, great vanity, and an
unscrupulous character, Shaftesbury resolved to stir the nation to its
centre, at the expense of peace, honour, and bloodshed.

On the 21st of October, Parliament assembled, when Lord Danby, much
against his majesty's inclination, brought the subject of the plot
before the Commons. This was a movement much appreciated by the House,
which, fired by the general indignation, resolved to deal out vengeance
with a strong hand. As befitted such intention, they began by requesting
his majesty would order a day of general fasting and prayer, to implore
the mercy of Almighty God. The king complying with this desire, they
next, "in consideration of the bloody and traitorous designs," besought
him to issue a proclamation "commanding all persons being popish
recusants, or so reputed," to depart ten miles from the city.
Accordingly, upwards of thirty thousand citizens left London before
the 7th of the following month, "with great lamentations leaving
their trades and habitations." Many of them in a little while secretly
returned again. A few days before this latest petition was presented
to the monarch, Oates had been examined before the House for over six
hours; and so delighted was he by the unprejudiced manner in which his
statements were received, that he added several items to them. These
were not only interesting in themselves, but implicated peers and
persons of quality to the number of twenty-six. The former, including
Lords Stafford, Powis, Petre, Bellasis, and Arundel of Wardour, were
committed to the Tower, the latter to Newgate prison.

At the end of his examination he was several times asked if he knew more
of the plot, or of those concerned with it, to which he emphatically
replied he did not. Three days later he remembered a further incident
which involved many persons not previously mentioned by him.

Both Houses now sat in the forenoon and afternoon of each day;
excitement was not allowed to flag. Oates seldom appeared before the
Commons without having fresh revelations to make; but the fertility of
his imagination by no means weakened the strength of his evidence in
the opinions of his hearers. "Oates was encouraged," writes John Evelyn,
"and everything he affirmed taken for gospel." Indignation against the
papists daily increasing in height, the decrees issued regarding them
became more rigorous in severity.

On the 2nd of November the king, in obedience to his Parliament, offered
a reward of twenty pounds for the discovery of any officer or soldier
who, since the passing of the Test Act, "hath been perverted to the
Romish religion, or hears mass." Two days later a bill was framed
"for more effectually preserving the king's person and government, by
disabling papists from sitting in either House of Parliament." As it was
feared a clause would be inserted in this, excluding the Duke of York,
the enemies of his royal highness more plainly avowed their object by
moving that an address be presented to the king, praying his brother
should "withdraw himself from his majesty's person and counsels." This
was the first step towards the Bill of Exclusion from Succession which
they hoped subsequently to obtain. The monarch, however, determined to
check such designs whilst there was yet time; and accordingly made a
speech to the peers, in which he said to them, "Whatever reasonable
bills you shall present to be passed into laws, to make you safe in
the reign of my successor, so they tend not to impeach the right of
succession, nor the descent of the crown in the true line, shall find
from me a ready concurrence."

The intended address was therefore abandoned for the present; but the
bill for disabling catholics from sitting in either House of Parliament,
having a clause which excepted the Duke of York from that indignity,
passed on the 30th of November.


  Reward for the discovery of murderers.--Bedlow's character
  and evidence.--His strange story.--Development of the "horrid
  plot."--William Staley is made a victim.--Three Jesuits hung.--Titus
  Oates pronounced the saviour of his country.--Striving to ruin the
  queen.--Monstrous story of Bedlow and Oates.--The king protects
  her majesty.--Five Jesuits executed.--Fresh rumours concerning
  the papists.--Bill to exclude the Duke of York.--Lord Stafford is
  tried.--Scene at Tower Hill.--Fate of the conspirators.

Before the remains of Sir Edmondbury Godfrey were laid to rest, a
proclamation was issued by the king, offering a reward of five hundred
pounds for discovery of the murderers. If one of the assassins betrayed
those who helped him in the deed, he should receive, not only the sum
mentioned, but likewise a free pardon, and such protection for his
security as he could in reason propose. Two days after this had been
made public, a man named William Bedlow put himself in communication
with Sir William Coventry, Secretary of State, declaring he had a
certain knowledge of the murder in question.

Archdeacon Eachard tells us this man "was one of a base birth and worse
manners, who from a poor foot-boy and runner of errands, for a while
got into a livery in the Lord Bellasis's family; and having for his
villainies suffered hardships and want in many prisons in England, he
afterwards turned a kind of post or letter carrier for those who thought
fit to employ him beyond sea. By these means he got the names and
habitations of men of quality, their relations, correspondents,
and interests; and upon this bottom, with a daring boldness, and a
dexterous turn of fancy and address, he put himself into the world. He
was skilful in all the arts and methods of cheating; but his masterpiece
was his personating men of quality, getting credit for watches, coats,
and horses; borrowing money, bilking vintners and tradesmen, lying and
romancing to the degree of imposing upon any man of good nature. He
lived like a wild Arab upon prey, and whether he was in Flanders,
France, Spain, or England, he never failed in leaving the name of a
notorious cheat and impostor behind him."

On the 7th of November, Bedlow was brought before the king, and examined
by two Secretaries of State. Here he made the extraordinary declaration
that he had seen the body of the murdered magistrate lying at Somerset
House--then the residence of the queen; that two Jesuits, named La Faire
and Walsh, told him they, with the assistance of an attendant in
the queen's chapel, had smothered Sir Edmondbury Godfrey between two
pillows; that he had been offered two thousand guineas if he would
safely remove the body, which on his refusal was carried away, a couple
of nights after the murder, by three persons unknown to him, who were
servants of the queen's household. Hearing this statement, Sir William
Coventry asked him if he knew anything of the popish plot, when he
affirmed on oath he was entirely ignorant regarding it; he likewise
swore he knew no such man as Titus Oates.

That night he was lodged in Whitehall, in company with Tonge and Oates;
and next morning appeared before the House of Lords, when it was evident
his memory had wonderfully improved since the previous day. His story
now assumed a more concise form. In the beginning of October, he stated,
he had been offered the sum of four thousand pounds, to be paid by Lord
Bellasis, provided he murdered a man whose name was withheld from him,
This he refused. He was then asked to make the acquaintance and watch
the movements of Sir Edmondbury Godfrey. With this he complied. Soon
after dusk on the 12th of October, the magistrate had been dragged into
the court of Somerset House by the Jesuits, and asked if he would send
for the documents to which Oates had sworn. On his refusal he had been
smothered with a piece of linen cloth; the story of suffocation by
pillows, being at variance with the medical evidence, was now abandoned.
One of the Jesuits, La Faire, had asked Bedlow to call at Somerset House
that night at nine o'clock; and on presenting himself, he was conducted
through a gloomy passage into a spacious and sombre room, where a group
of figures stood round a body lying on the floor. Advancing to these,
La Faire turned the light of a lantern he carried on the face of the
prostrate man, when Bedlow recognised Sir Edmondbury Godfrey. He was
then offered two thousand guineas if he would remove the body, which was
allowed to remain there three days. This he promised to accomplish,
but afterwards, his conscience reproving him, he resolved to avoid the
assassins; and rather than accept the sum proffered, he had preferred
discovering the villainy to the Government.

This improbable story obtained no credit with the king, nor indeed with
those whose minds were free from prejudice. "His majesty," writes Sir
John Reresby, "told me Bedlow was a rogue, and that he was satisfied
he had given false evidence concerning the death of Sir Edmondbury
Godfrey." Many circumstances regarding the narrator and his story showed
the viciousness of the one and the falsity of the other. The authority
just mentioned states, when Bedlow "was taxed with having cheated a
great many merchants abroad, and gentlemen at home, by personating my
Lord Gerard and other men of quality, and by divers other cheats, he
made it an argument to be more credited in this matter, saying nobody
but a rogue could be employed in such designs." Concerning the murder,
it chanced the king had been at Somerset House visiting the queen, at
the time when, according to Bedlow, the deed had been committed. His
majesty had been attended by a company of guards, and sentries had been
placed at every door; yet not one of them had witnessed a scuffle, or
heard a noise. Moreover, on the king sending Bedlow to Somerset House,
that he might indicate the apartment in which the magistrate's remains
had lain three days, he pointed out a room where the footman waited, and
through which the queen's meals were daily carried.

But the dishonesty of his character and falsity of his statements by
no means prevented the majority of his hearers from believing, or
pretending to believe, his statements; and therefore, encouraged by
the ready reception they met, he ventured to make fresh and startling
revelations. Heedless of the oath he had taken on the first day of his
examination, regarding his ignorance of the popish plot, he now asserted
he was well acquainted with all its details. For some four years he
had been in the secret employment of the wicked Jesuits, and knew
they intended to stab and poison his majesty, establish catholicity
in England, and make the pope king. So far, indeed, had their evil
machinations been planned, that several popish peers already held
commissions for posts they expected to fill in the future. Lord Bellasis
and Lord Powis were appointed commanders of the forces in the north
and south; whilst Lord Arundel of Wardour had permission to grant such
positions as he pleased. Then the Dukes of Buckingham, Ormond, and
Monmouth, with Lords Shaftesbury and Ossory, together with many others,
were to be murdered by forty thousand papists, who were ready to rise up
all over the country at a moment's notice. "Nor was there," he added,
"a Roman Catholic of any quality or credit but was acquainted with these
designs and had received the sacrament from their father confessors to
be secret in carrying it out."

It by no means pleased Oates that Bedlow should surpass him in his
knowledge of this hellish plot. Therefore, that he might not lose
in repute as an informer, he now declared he was also aware of the
commissions held by popish peers. He, however, assigned them in a
different order. Arundel was to be made chancellor; Powis, treasurer;
Bellasis general of the army; Petre, lieutenant-general; Ratcliffe,
major-general; Stafford, paymaster-general; and Langhorn,
advocate-general. Nay, his information far outstripped Bedlow's, for
he swore that to his knowledge Coleman had given four ruffians eighty
guineas to stab the king, and Sir George Wakeham had undertaken to
poison his majesty for ten thousand pounds. When, however, he was
brought face to face with these men, he was unable to recognise them,
a fact he accounted for by stating he was exhausted by prolonged

All England was scared by revelations so horrible; "the business of
life," writes Macpherson, "was interrupted by confusion, panic, clamour,
and dreadful rumours." In London, two thousand catholics were cast into
prison; houses were daily searched for arms and treasonable documents;
and in good time merciless executions filled up the sum of bitter

One of the first victims of this so-called plot was William Staley,
a catholic banker of fair renown. The manner in which his life was
sacrificed will serve as an example of the injustice meted to those
accused. One day, William Staley happened to enter a pastrycook's shop
in Covent Garden, opposite his bank, where there chanced to stand at
the time a fellow named Carstairs; one of the infamous creatures who,
envious of the honours and riches heaped on Oates and Bedlow, resolved
to make new discoveries and enjoy like rewards. At this time he was, as
Bishop Burnet states, "looking about where he could find a lucky piece
of villainy." Unfortunately the banker came under his notice, and Bedlow
and an associate pretended to have heard Staley say the king was a rogue
and a persecutor of the people whom he would stab if no other man was
found to do the deed. These words Carstairs wrote down, and next morning
called on the banker, showed him the treasonable sentence, and said
he would swear it had been uttered by him, unless he, Staley, would
purchase his silence. Though fully aware of his danger, he refused to
do this; whereon Carstairs had him instantly arrested and committed for
trial. Hearing of his situation, and knowing the infamous character of
his accusers, Dr. Burnet thought it his duty to let the lord chancellor
and the attorney-general know "What profligate wretches these
witnesses were." His interference was received with hostility. The
attorney-general took it ill that he should disparage the king's
evidence; Lord Shaftesbury avowed those who sought to undermine the
credit of witnesses were to be looked on as public enemies; whilst the
Duke of Lauderdale said Burnet desired to save Staley because of the
regard he had for anyone who would murder his majesty. Frightened by
such remarks at a time when no man's life or credit was safe, Burnet
shrank from further action; but rumour of his interference having got
noised abroad, it was resented by the public to such an extent, that he
was advised not to stir abroad for fear of public affronts.

Within five days of his arrest, William Staley was condemned to death.
In vain he protested his innocence, pointed out the improbability of his
using such words in a public room, and referred to his character as
a loyal man and worthy citizen. He was condemned and executed as a

The next victim was Coleman. He denied having hired assassins to murder
his majesty, or entertained desires for his death; but honestly stated
he had striven to advance his religion, not by bloodshed, but by
tolerance. Whilst lying in chains at Newgate prison under sentence of
death members of both Houses of Parliament visited him, and offered him
pardon if he confessed a knowledge of the plot; but, in answer to all
persuasions and promises, he avowed his innocence; protesting which, he
died at Tyburn.

A little later, three Jesuits, named Ireland, Whitehead, and Fenwick,
and two attendants of the queen's chapel, named Grove and Pickering,
were executed on a charge of conspiracy to kill the king. Oates and
Bedlow swore these Jesuits had promised Grove fifteen hundred pounds
as price of the murder; Pickering chose as his reward to have thirty
thousand masses, at a shilling a mass, said for him. Three times they
had attempted this deed with a pistol; but once the flint was loose,
another time there was no powder in the pan, and again the pistol was
charged only with bullets. These five men died denying their guilt to
the last.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tonge, the ingenious inventor of the plot, had sunk into
insignificance by comparison with his audacious pupil. Not only did the
latter have apartments at Whitehall allotted him, and receive a pension
of twelve hundred a year, but he was lauded as the saviour of his
country, complimented with the title of doctor of divinity, honoured in
public, and entertained in private. Eachard mentions "a great supper
in the city," given in compliment to Oates by "twenty eminent
rich citizens;" and Sir John Reresby writes of meeting him at the
dinner-table of Dr. Gunning, Bishop of Ely. Nothing could exceed the
insolence and arrogance of the impostor. He appeared in a silk gown and
cassock, a long scarf, a broad hat with satin band and rose, and called
himself a doctor of divinity. No man dared contradict or oppose him,
lest he should be denounced as a conniver of the plot, and arrested as a
traitor. "Whoever he pointed at was taken up and committed," says North.
"So that many people got out of his way as from a blast, and glad they
could prove their last two years' conversation. The very breath of him
was pestilential, and if it brought not imprisonment, it surely poisoned
reputation." Sir John, speaking of him at the bishop's dinner-table,
says "he was blown up with the hopes of running down the Duke of York,
and spoke of him and his family after a manner which showed himself both
a fool and a knave. He reflected not only on him personally, but upon
her majesty; nobody daring to contradict him, for fear of being made a
party to the plot. I at least did not undertake to do it, when he left
the room in some heat. The bishop told me this was his usual discourse,
and that he had checked him formerly for taking so indecent a liberty,
but he found it was to no purpose."

The impostor's conversation on this occasion furnishes the key-note of
a vile plot now contrived to intercept the lawful succession, either by
effectually removing the queen, and thereby enabling the king to marry
again; or otherwise excluding the Duke of York by act of parliament from
lawful right to the crown. Though Shaftesbury's hand was not plainly
seen, there can be no doubt it was busily employed in working out his
favourite design.

The blow was first aimed at her majesty by Bedlow, who, on the 25th of
November, accused her of conspiring to kill her husband. About eighteen
months previously, he said, there had been a consultation in the chapel
gallery at Somerset House, which had been attended by Lord Bellasis, Mr.
Coleman, La Faire, Pritchard, Latham, and Sheldon, four Jesuits, and two
Frenchmen whom he took to be abbots, two persons of quality whose
faces he did not see, and lastly by her majesty. The Jesuits afterwards
confided in him as a person of trust, that the queen wept at a proposal
to murder the king which had been made, but subsequently yielding to
arguments of the French abbots, had consented to the design. Indeed,
Bedlow, who was in the sacristy when her majesty passed through at the
termination of this meeting, noticed her face had much changed. Here
his story ended; but, as was now usual, it was taken up and concluded by

Appearing at the Bar of the House of Commons, this vile impostor cried
out, "Aye, Taitus Oates, accause Caatharine, Quean of England, of haigh
traison." Then followed his audacious evidence. In the previous July,
Sir George Wakeham, in writing to a Jesuit named Ashby, stated her
majesty would aid in poisoning the king. A few days afterwards, Harcourt
and four other Jesuits having been sent for, attended the queen at
Somerset House. On that occasion Oates waited on them; they went into
a chamber, he stayed without. Whilst there he heard a woman's voice
say she would endure her wrongs no longer, but should assist Sir
George Wakeham in poisoning the king. He was afterwards admitted to the
chamber, and saw no woman there but her majesty; and he heard the same
voice ask Harcourt, whilst he was within, if he had received the last
ten thousand pounds.

The appetite of public credulity seeming to increase by that on which it
fed, this avowal was readily believed. That the accusation had not been
previously made; that Oates had months before sworn he knew no others
implicated in the plot beyond those he named; that the queen had never
interfered in religious matters; that she loved her husband exceeding
well, were facts completely overlooked in the general agitation.
Parliament "was in a rage and flame;" and next day the Commons drew up
an address to the king, stating that "having received information of
a most desperate and traitorous design against the life of his sacred
majesty, wherein the queen is particularly charged and accused" they
besought him that "she and all her family, and all papists and reputed
papists, be forthwith removed from his court." Furthermore, the House
sent a message to the Peers, desiring their concurrence in this request;
but the Lords made answer, before doing so they would examine the
witnesses against her majesty. This resolution was loudly and indecently
protested against by Lord Shaftesbury and two of his friends.

The king had discredited the story of the plot from the first; but
remembering the unhappy consequences which had resulted upon the
disagreement of the monarch and his parliament in the previous reign, he
weakly resolved to let himself be carried away by the storm, other than
offer it resistance. On the condemnation of the Jesuits, he had appeared
unhappy and dissatisfied; "but," says Lord Romney, "after he had had
a little advice he kept his displeasure to himself." The Duke of York
states, in the Stuart Papers, that "the seeming necessity of his affairs
made his majesty think he could not be safe but by consenting every day
to the execution of those he knew in his heart to be most innocent."
Now, however, when foul charges were made against the queen, calculated
not merely to ruin her honour but destroy her life, he resolved to
interfere. He therefore requested she would return to Whitehall, where
she should be safe under his protection; and feeling assured Oates had
received instructions from others more villainous than their tool,
he ordered a strict guard to be kept upon him. This he was, however,
obliged to remove next day at request of the Commons.

On the examination before the House of Lords of Oates and Bedlow, their
evidence proved so vague and contradictory that it was rejected even by
the most credulous. When Bedlow was asked "why he had not disclosed such
a perilous matter in conjunction with his previous information touching
the murder of Sir Edmondbury Godfrey," he coolly replied, "it had
escaped his memory." On Oates being sent to point out the apartment in
which he had seen her majesty and the Jesuits, he first selected the
guard-room, and afterwards the privy chamber, places in which it would
have been impossible to have held secret consultation. Aware that the
king was resolved to protect her majesty, and conscious the evidence of
her accusers was more wildly improbable than usual, the Lords refused to
second the address of the Commons, when the charge against this hapless
woman was abandoned, to the great vexation of my Lord Shaftesbury.

Though the queen happily escaped the toils of her enemies, the reign of
terror was by no means at an end. At request of the king, the Duke
of York left England and took refuge in Brussels; the catholic peers
imprisoned in the Tower were impeached with high treason; Hill, Green,
and Berry, servants of her majesty, charged with the murder of Sir
Edmondbury Godfrey, were, without a shadow of evidence, hurried to the
scaffold, as were soon after Whitebread, Fenwick, Harcourt, Gavan and
Turner, Jesuits all, and Langhorn, a catholic lawyer, for conspiring
to murder the king. On the morning when these unfortunate men stood
ignominiously bound to the gallows at Tyburn, the instruments of death
before their eyes, the angry murmurs of the surging mob ringing in their
ears, suddenly the sound of a voice crying aloud, "A pardon! a pardon!"
was heard afar off, and presently a horseman appeared riding at full
speed. The soldiers with some difficulty making way for him through a
line of excited people, he advanced to the foot of the scaffold, and
handed a roll of paper bearing the king's seal to the sheriff, who,
opening it, read a promise of pardon to those now standing face to face
with death, provided "they should acknowledge the conspiracy, and lay
open what they knew thereof." To this they replied they knew of no plot,
and had never desired harm to the king; and, praying for those who had
sought their lives, they died.

The firmness and patience with which the victims of judicial murder had
one and all met death, refusing bribes, and resisting persuasions to
own themselves guilty, could not fail in producing some effect upon the
public mind; and towards the middle of the year 1679 the first signs of
reaction became visible, when three Benedictine monks and the queen's
physician were tried for conspiracy "to poison the king, subvert the
government, and introduce popery." During the examination, Evelyn tells
us, "the bench was crowded with the judges, lord mayor, justices, and
innumerable spectators." After a tedious trial of nine hours, the jury
brought the prisoners in not guilty, "without," says Evelyn, "sufficient
disadvantage and reflection on witnesses, especially on Oates and

As my Lord Shaftesbury had not yet succeeded in his desired project of
excluding the Duke of York from succession, the symptoms of change in
public opinion were thoroughly distasteful to him. He therefore resolved
to check them immediately, and stimulate the agitation and fear that
had for many months reigned paramount through out the nation. For this
purpose he had recourse to his former method of circulating wild and
baseless reports. Accordingly a rumour was soon brought before the House
of Commons of a horrible plot hatched by the papists to burn London to
the ground. This, it was alleged, would be effected by a servant-maid
setting a clothes-press on fire in the house of her master, situated in
Fetter Lane. Two vile Irishmen were to feed the flames, and meanwhile
the catholics would rise in rebellion, and, assisted by an army of sixty
thousand French soldiers, kill the king, and put all protestants to the
sword. Though this tale was in due time discredited, yet it served its
purpose in the present. The violent alarm it caused had not subsided
when another terrible story, started on the excellent authority of Lord
Shaftesbury's cook, added a new terror. This stated the Duke of York
had placed himself at the head of the French troops, with intention
of landing in England, murdering the king and forcing papacy on his
subjects. The scare was sufficiently effectual to cause Parliament to
petition his majesty that he might revoke all licenses recently granted
catholic householders to reside in the capital; and order the execution
of all priests who administered sacraments or celebrated mass within the
kingdom. Soon after this address, Lord Russell was sent by the Commons
to the Peers, requesting their concurrence in the statement that "the
Duke of York's being a papist, the hope of his coming to the crown had
given the greatest countenance and encouragement to the conspiracies and
designs of the papists." And now, in May, 1679, the condition of popular
feeling promising well for its success, the Bill of Exclusion was
introduced, ordaining that "James, Duke of York should be incapable of
inheriting the crowns of England and Ireland; that on the demise of his
majesty without heirs of his body, his dominions should devolve, as if
the Duke of York were also dead, on that person next in succession who
had always professed the protestant religion established by law." This
passed the House of Commons by a majority of seventy-nine votes.

Alarmed by this bill, Charles resolved to show signs of resentment, and
at the same time check the increasing power of the Commons, by a sudden
and decisive movement. Therefore, without previously hinting at his
intentions, he prorogued parliament before the bill was sent to
the House of Lords. This was a keen surprise to all, and a bitter
disappointment to Shaftesbury, who vowed those who advised the king to
this measure should answer for it with their heads. Owing to various
delays, the Bill of Exclusion was not brought before the Peers until
eighteen months later. Its introduction was followed by a debate lasting
six hours, in which Shaftesbury distinguished himself by his force and
bitterness. At nine o'clock at night the House divided, when the measure
was rejected by a majority of thirty-three votes, amongst which were
those of the fourteen bishops present.

Mortified by this unexpected decision, the violent passions of the
defeated party hurried them on to seek the blood of those peers lodged
in the Tower. Of the five, William Howard, Viscount Stafford--youngest
son of the Earl of Arran, and nephew of the Duke of Norfolk--was
selected to be first put upon his trial; inasmuch as, being over sixty
years, and a sufferer from many infirmities, it was judged he would be
the least capable of making a vigorous defence. Three perjured
witnesses swore he had plotted against the king's life, but no proof
was forthcoming to support their evidence. Notwithstanding this was
"bespattered and falsified in almost every point," it was received as
authentic by the judges, who made a national cause of his prosecution,
and considered no punishment too severe for a papist. After a trial of
five days sentence of death was pronounced upon him, and on the 29th of
December, 1680, he was beheaded on Tower Hill.

Like those who had suffered from similar charges, he protested his
innocence to the last; but his words met with a reception different from
theirs. Their dying speeches had been greeted by groans, hisses, and
signs of insatiable fury; but his declarations fell upon silent and
sympathizing hearts. When he had made denial of the crimes of which he
was accused, a great cry rose from the mob, "We believe you--we believe
you, my lord;" and then a single voice calling out "God bless you!"
the words were taken up and repeated by a vast throng, so that the last
sounds he heard on earth were those of prayer. He died with a
firmness worthy of his caste. Having laid his head upon the block, the
executioner brandished his axe in the air, and then set it quietly
down at his feet. Raising his head, Lord Stafford inquired the cause of
delay; the executioner replied he awaited a sign. "Take your time," said
he who stood at the verge of eternity; "I shall make no sign." He who
held the axe in his hand hesitated a second, and then said in a low and
troubled voice, "Do you forgive me, sir?" To which Lord Stafford made
brief answer, "I do." Then he laid his head again upon the blood-stained
block. Once more the glitter of steel flashed through the air, a groan
arose from the crowd, and Lord Stafford's head was severed from his

A reaction now set in, and gained strength daily. The remaining peers
were in due time liberated; the blood of innocent victims was no longer
shed; and the Duke of York was recalled. Such was the end of the popish
plot, which, says Archdeacon Eachard, "after the strictest and coolest
examinations, and after a full length of time, the government could find
very little foundation to support so vast a fabrick, besides downright
swearing and assurance; not a gun, sword, nor dagger, not a flask of
powder or dark lanthorn, to effect this strange villainy, and with the
exception of Coleman's writings, not one slip of an original letter of
commission among those great numbers alledged to uphold the reputation
of the discoveries."

Concerning those through whose malice such disturbance was wrought, and
so much blood shed, a few words may be added. Within twelve months of
Lord Stafford's execution, Shaftesbury was charged with high treason,
but escaping condemnation, fled from further molestation to Holland,
where, after a residence of six weeks, he died. Tonge departed this life
in 1680, unbenefited by the monstrous plot he had so skilfully devised;
and in the same year Bedlow was carried to the grave after an illness of
four days. Oates survived to meet a share of the ignominy and punishment
due to his crimes. After a residence of three years in Whitehall, he was
driven out of the palace on account of "certain misdemeanors laid to his
charge," and deprived of his salary. Two years later, in May, 1683, he
was accused of calling the Duke of York a traitor, and using scandalous
words towards his royal highness. Upon hearing of the case the jury
fined him one hundred thousand pounds. Unable to pay the sum, he was
cast into prison, where he remained six years, until liberated in the
reign of William and Mary, His punishment was not, however, at an
end. At the Michaelmas term of 1684 he was accused of having wilfully
perjured himself at the late trials. As he pleaded not guilty, his case
was appointed to be heard at the King's Bench Court. His trial did not
take place until May, 1685, on which occasion the lord chief justice, in
summing up the evidence, declared, "There does not remain the slightest
doubt that Oates is the blackest and most perjured villain on the face
of the earth."

After a quarter of an hour's absence from court, the jury returned
a verdict of guilty, and sentence was pronounced against him. He was
stripped of his canonical habit; forced to walk through all the courts
of Westminster Hall proclaiming his crimes; to stand an hour on the
pillory opposite Westminster Hall gate on Monday; an hour on the pillory
at the Royal Exchange on Tuesday; and on Wednesday he was tied to a cart
and whipt at the hands of the common hangman from Aldgate to Newgate, in
the presence, says Eachard, "of innumerable spectators, who had a more
than ordinary curiosity to see the sight."


  London under Charles II.--Condition and appearance of the
  thoroughfares.--Coffee is first drunk in the capital.--Taverns and
  their frequenters.--The city by night.--Wicked people do creep
  about.--Companies of young gentlemen.--The Duke of Monmouth kills
  a beadle.--Sir Charles Sedley's frolic.--Stately houses of the
  nobility.--St. James's Park.--Amusement of the town.--At Bartholomew
  Fair.--Bull, bear, and dog fights.--Some quaint sports.

During the first six years of the merry monarch's reign, London town,
east of Temple Bar, consisted of narrow and tortuous streets of quaintly
gabled houses, pitched roofed and plaster fronted. Scarce four years had
passed after the devastating fire which laid this portion of the capital
in ashes, when a new and stately city rose upon the ruins of the old.
Thoroughfares lying close by the Thames, which were wont to suffer from
inundations, were raised; those which from limited breadth had caused
inconvenience and bred pestilence were made wide; warehouses and
dwellings of solid brick and carved stone, with doors, window-frames,
and breastsummers of stout oak, replaced irregular though not
unpicturesque habitations; whilst the halls of companies, eminent
taverns, and abodes of great merchants, were now built "with fair
courtyards before them, and pleasant gardens behind them, and fair
spacious rooms and galleries in them, little inferior to some princes'
palaces." Moreover, churches designed by the genius of Christopher Wren,
adorned with spires, steeples, and minarets, intersected the capital at
all points.

This new, handsome, and populous city presented an animated, ever
changing, and merry scene. From "the high street which is called the
Strand," far eastwards, great painted signs, emblazoned with heraldic
arms, or ornamented with pictures of grotesque birds and animals,
swung above shop-doors and taverns. Stalls laden with wares of every
description, "set out with decorations as valuable as those of the
stage," extended into the thoroughfares. In the new Exchange, built by
the worshipful company of mercers at a cost of eight thousand pounds,
and adorned by a fair statue of King Charles II. in the habit of a Roman
emperor, were galleries containing rows of very rich shops, displaying
manufactures and ornaments of rare description, served by young men
known as apprentices, and likewise by comely wenches.

At corners and nooks of streets, under eaves of churches and great
buildings, and other places of shelter, sat followers of various trades
and vendors of divers commodities, each in the place which had become
his from daily association and long habit. These good people, together
with keepers of stalls and shops, extolled their wares in deafening
shouts; snatches of song, shouts of laughter, and the clang of pewter
vessels came in bursts of discord from open tavern doors; women
discoursed with or abused each other, according to their temper and
inclination as they leaned from the jutting small-paned windows and open
balconies of their homesteads; hackney coaches or "hell carts," as they
drove by, cast filth and refuse lying in kennels upon the clothes of
passengers; the carriers of sedan-chairs deposited their burthens to
fight for right of way in narrow passages and round crowded corners.

Through the busy concourse flowing up and down the thoroughfares from
dawn to dusk, street-criers took their way, bearing wares upon their
heads in wicker baskets, before them on broad trays, or slung upon their
backs in goodly packs. And as they passed, their voices rose above the
general din, calling "Fair lemons and oranges, oranges and citrons!"
"Cherries, sweet cherries, ripe and red!" "New flounders and great
plaice; buy my dish of great eels!" "Rosemary and sweet briar; who'll
buy my lavender?" "Fresh cheese and cream!" "Lily-white vinegar!"
"Dainty sausages!" which calls, being frequently intoned to staves
of melody, fell with pleasant sounds upon the ear. [These hawkers so
seriously interfered with legitimate traders, that in 1694 they were
forbidden to sell any goods or merchandise in any public place within
the city or liberties, except in open markets and fairs, on penalty of
forty shillings for each offence, both to buyers and sellers.] Moreover,
to these divers sights and sounds were added ballad singers, who piped
ditties upon topics of the day; quacks who sold nostrums and magic
potions; dancers who performed on tight-ropes; wandering musicians;
fire-eaters of great renown; exhibitors of dancing dolls, and such like
itinerants "as make show of motions and strange sights," all of whom
were obliged to have and to hold "a license in red and black letters,
under the hand and seal of Thomas Killigrew, Esq., master of the revels
to his sacred majesty Charles II."

Adown the Strand, Fleet Street, and in that part of the city adjoining
the Exchange, coffee-houses abounded in great numbers. Coffee, which
in this reign became a favourite beverage, was introduced into London
a couple of years before the restoration. It had, however, been brought
into England at a much earlier period. John Evelyn, in the year 1638,
speaks of it being drunk at Oxford, where there came to his college
"one Nathaniel Conoposis out of Greece, from Cyrill the patriarch of
Constantinople, who, returning many years after, was made Bishop of
Smyrna." Twelve good years later, a coffee-house was opened at Oxford
by one Jacobs, a Jew, where this beverage was imbibed "by some
who delighted in novelty." It was, however, according to Oldys the
antiquarian, untasted in the capital till a Turkey merchant named
Edwards brought to London a Ragusan youth named Pasqua Rosee, who
prepared this drink for him daily. The eagerness to taste the strange
beverage drawing too much company to his board, Edwards allowed the lad,
together with a servant of his son-in-law, to sell it publicly; whence
coffee was first sold in St. Michael's Alley in Cornhill by Pasqua
Rosee, "at the sign of his own head," about the year 1658.

Though coffee-drinkers first met with much ridicule from wits about
town, and writers of broadsheet ballads, the beverage became gradually
popular, and houses for its sale quickly multiplied. Famous amongst
these, in the reign of the merry monarch, besides that already
mentioned, was Garraway's in Exchange Alley; the Rainbow, by the Inner
Temple Gate; Dick's, situated at No. 8, Fleet Street; Jacobs', the
proprietor of which moved in 1671 from Oxford to Southampton Buildings,
Holborn; the Grecian in the Strand, "conducted without ostentation
or noise;" the Westminster, noted as a resort of peers and members
of parliament; and Will's, in Russell Street, frequented by the poet

These houses, the forerunners of clubs, were, according to their
situation and convenience, frequented by noblemen and men of quality,
courtiers, foreign ministers, politicians, members of learned
professions, wits, citizens of various grades, and all who loved to
exchange greetings and gossip with their neighbours and friends. Within
these low-ceilinged comfortable coffee-house rooms, fitted with strong
benches and oak chairs, where the black beverage was drunk from handless
wide brimmed cups, Pepys passed many cheerful hours, hearing much of the
news he so happily narrates, and holding pleasant discourse with many
notable men. It was in a coffee-house he encountered Major Waters, "a
deaf and most amorous melancholy gentleman, who is under a despayer in
love, which makes him bad company, though a most good-natured man."
And in such a place he listened to "some simple discourse about quakers
being charmed by a string about their wrists;" and saw a certain
merchant named Hill "that is a master of most sorts of musique and other
things, the universal character, art of memory, counterfeiting of hands,
and other most excellent discourses."

In days before newspapers came into universal circulation, and general
meetings were known, coffee-houses became recognised centres for
exchange of thought and advocacy of political action. Aware of this, the
government, under leadership of Danby, not desiring to have its motives
too freely canvassed, in 1675 issued an order that such "places of
resort for idle and disaffected persons" should be closed. Alarmed by
this command, the keepers of such houses petitioned for its withdrawal,
at the same time faithfully promising libels should not be read under
their roofs. They were therefore permitted to carry on their business by

Next in point of interest to coffee-houses were taverns where men came
to make merry, in an age when simplicity and good fellowship largely
obtained. As in coffee-houses, gossip was the order of the day in
such places, each tavern being in itself "a broacher of more news than
hogsheads, and more jests than news." Those of good standing and fair
renown could boast rows of bright flagons ranged on shelves round
panelled walls; of hosts, rotund in person and genial in manner; and
of civil drawers, who could claim good breeding. The Bear, at the
bridge-foot, situated at the Southwark side, was well known to men of
gallantry and women of pleasure; and was, moreover, famous as the spot
where the Duke of Richmond awaited Mistress Stuart on her escape from
Whitehall. The Boar's Head, in Eastcheap, which gained pleasant mention
in the plays of William Shakespeare, when rebuilt, after the great fire,
became a famous resort. The Three Cranes, in the Vintry, was sacred to
the shade of rare Ben Jonson. The White Bear's Head, in Abchurch Lane,
where French dinners were served from five shillings a head "to a
guinea, or what sum you pleased," was the resort of cavaliers, The Rose
Tavern, in the Poultry, was famous for its excellent ale, and no less
for its mighty pretty hostess, to whom the king had kissed hands as he
rode by on his entry. The Rummer was likewise of some note, inasmuch as
it was kept by one Samuel Prior, uncle to Matthew Prior, the ingenious
poet. On the balcony of the Cock, near Covent Garden, Sir Charles
Sedley had stood naked in a drunken frolic; and at the King's Head, over
against the Inner Temple Gate, Shaftesbury and his friends laid their
plots, coming out afterwards on the double balcony in front, as North
describes them, "with hats and no peruques, pipes in their mouths,
merry faces and dilated throats, for vocal encouragement of the canaglia

All day long the streets were crowded by those whom business or
diversion carried abroad; but when night fell apace, the keepers of
stalls and shops speedily secured their wares and fastened their doors,
whilst the honest citizen and his family kept within house. For the
streets being unlighted, darkness fell upon them, relieved only as some
person of wealth rode homewards from visiting a friend, or a band of
late revellers returned from a feast, when the glare of flambeaux,
carried by their attendants, for a moment brought the outlines of houses
into relief, or flashed red light upon their diamond panes, leaving all
in profound gloom on disappearing.

The condition of the thoroughfares favouring the inclination of many
loose persons, they wandered at large, dealing mischief to those whose
duty took them abroad. From the year 1556, in the reign of Queen Mary,
"fit persons with suitable strength" had been appointed to walk the
streets and watch the city by night; to protect those in danger, arrest
suspected persons, warn householders of danger by fire and candle,
help the poor, pray for the dead, and preserve the peace. These burly
individuals were known as watch or bell men; one was appointed for each
ward, whose duty it was to pass through the district he guarded ringing
his bell, "and when that ceaseth," says Stow, "he salutes his masters
and mistresses with his rhymes, suitable to the seasons and festivals of
the year, and bids them look to their lights."

In the third year of the reign of King Charles II., whilst Sir John
Robinson was mayor of London town, divers good orders were made by him
and his common council for the better service of these watches. The
principal of these set forth that each should be accompanied by a
constable and a beadle selected from the inhabitants of their respective
wards, who should be required in turn to render voluntary service in
guarding the city, from nine of the clock at night till seven in the
morning, from Michaelmas to the 1st of April; and from that date until
the 31st of March, from ten at night till five in the morning.

These rules were not, however, vigorously carried out; the volunteers
were frequently unwilling to do duty, or when, fearful of fine, they
went abroad, they usually spent their time in tippling in ale-houses,
so that, as Delaune remarks, "a great many wicked persons capable of the
blackest villainies do creep about, as daily and sad experience shows."
It was not only those who, with drawn swords, darted from some deep
porch or sheltering buttress, in hopes of enriching themselves at their
neighbour's expense, that were to be dreaded. It was a fashion of the
time for companies of young gentlemen to saunter forth in numbers after
route or supper, when, being merry with wine and eager for adventure,
they were brave enough to waylay the honest citizen and abduct his
wife, beat the watch and smash his lantern, bedaub signboards and
wrench knockers, overturn a sedan-chair and vanquish the carriers, sing
roystering songs under the casements of peaceful sleepers, and play
strange pranks to which they were prompted by young blood and high

Among those who made prominent figures in such unholy sports was the
king's eldest son, my Lord Duke of Monmouth. He and his young grace
of Albemarle--son to that gallant soldier now deceased, who was
instrumental in restoring his majesty--together with some seven or eight
young gentlemen, whilst on their rounds one Sunday morning encountered
a beadle, whose quaint and ponderous figure presented itself to
their blithe minds as a fit object for diversion in lieu of better.
Accordingly they accosted him with rough words and unceremonious usage,
the which he resenting, they came to boisterous threats and many blows,
that ended only when the poor fellow lay with outstretched limbs stark
dead upon the pavement. Sir Charles Sedley and Lord Brockhurst were also
notable as having been engaged in another piece of what has been called
"frolick and debauchery," when "they ran up and down all night almost
naked through the streets, at last fighting and being beaten by the
watch, and clapped up all night."

It was not until the last years of the merry monarch's reign that there
was introduced "an ingenious and useful invention for the good of this
great city, calculated to secure one's goods, estates, and person; to
prevent fires, robberies and housebreakings, and several accidents and
casualties by falls to which man is liable by walking in the dark" This
was a scheme for lighting the streets, by placing an oil-lamp in
front of every tenth house on each side of the way, from Michaelmas to
Lady-day, every night from six of the clock till twelve, beginning the
third night after every full moon, and ending on the sixth night after
every new moon; one hundred and twenty nights in all. The originator of
this plan was one Edward Hemming, of London, gentleman. His project was
at first ridiculed and opposed by "narrow-souled and self-interested
people," who were no doubt children of darkness and doers of evil deeds;
but was eventually hailed with delight by all honest men, one of whom,
gifted with considerable imagination, declared these poor oil-lamps
"seemed but one great solar light that turned nocturnal shades to

In this reign the city proper was confined eastward of Temple Bar; to
the west lay the palaces of Somerset House and Whitehall, the stately
parks, and great houses of the nobility surrounded by wide gardens and
wooded grounds. Monsieur Sorbiere, who in this reign made a journey
into England, an account of which he subsequently published "to divert
a person of quality who loved him extremely," resided close by Covent
Garden during his stay. It was usual, he writes, for people in the
district to say, "I go to London," for "indeed 'tis a journey for those
who live near Westminster. 'Tis true," he adds, "they may sometimes get
thither in a quarter of an hour by water, which they cannot do in
less than two hours by land, for I am persuaded no less time will be
necessary to go from one end of its suburb to the other." For a crown
a week this ingenious and travelled gentleman had lodgings in Covent
Garden, not far removed from Salisbury House, a vicinity which he avows
was "certainly the finest place in the suburbs." Covent Garden itself
has been described by John Strype, native of the city of London, as "a
curious large and airy square enclosed by rails, between which railes
and houses runs a fair street." The square, or, as it was commonly
called, garden, was well gravelled for greater accommodation of those
who wished to take the air; and that its surface might more quickly dry
after rain, it was raised by an easy ascent to the centre, where stood a
sundial fixed on a black marble pillar, at the base of which were stone
steps, "whereon the weary' might rest."

The west side of the square was flanked by the handsome portico of St.
Paul's Church, erected at the expense of Francis, Earl of Bedford, from
designs by Mr. Inigo Jones; the south side opened to Bedford Gardens,
"where there is a small grotto of trees, most pleasant in the summer
season." Here, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, a market was held,
well stocked with roots, fruits, herbs, and flowers. On the north and
east sides stood large and stately houses of persons of quality and
consideration, the fronts of which, being supported by strong pillars,
afforded broad walks, known as the Piazza, and found convenient in wet
and sultry weather.

Here amongst other houses was that of my Lord Brouncker, where Mr. Pepys
enjoyed a most noble French dinner and much good discourse, in return
for which he gave much satisfaction by the singing of a new ballad, to
wit, Lord Dorset's famous song, "To all ye ladies now on land." Not far
distant, its face turned to the Strand, was the stately residence of the
Duke of Bedford, a large dark building, fronted by a great courtyard,
and backed by spacious gardens enclosed by red-brick walls. Likewise in
the Strand stood Arundel House, the residence of Henry Frederick Howard,
Earl of Arundel and Surrey, and Earl Marshal of England; Hatfield House,
built by Thomas Hatfield, Bishop of Durham, as a town residence for
himself and his heirs lawfully begotten; York House, richly adorned with
the arms of Villiers and Manners--one gloomy chamber of which was shown
as that wherein its late noble owner, George, first Duke of Buckingham,
was stabbed by Felton; Worcester House, at one time occupied by Lord
Chancellor Clarendon; and Essex House, situated near St. Clement Danes,
the town residence of Arthur Capel, Earl of Essex, "a sober, wise,
judicious, and pondering person, not illiterate beyond the rate of most
noblemen of this age."

There were also many other noble mansions lying westward, amongst them
being those of the Dukes of Ormond and Norfolk in St. James's Square,
which was built at this time; Berkeley House, which stood on the site
now occupied by Berkeley Square, a magnificent structure containing
a staircase of cedar wood, and great suites of lofty rooms; Leicester
House, situated in Leicester Fields, subsequently known as Leicester
Square, behind which stretched a goodly common; Goring House, "a very
pretty villa furnished with silver jars, vases, cabinets, and other
rich furniture, even to wantonnesse and profusion," on the site of which
Burlington Street now stands; Clarendon House, a princely residence,
combining "state, use, solidity, and beauty," surrounded by fair
gardens, that presently gave place to Bond Street; Southampton House,
standing, as Evelyn says, in "a noble piazza--a little town," now known
as Bloomsbury Square, whose pleasant grounds commanded a full view of
the rising hills of Hampstead and Highgate; and Montagu House, described
as a palace built in the French fashion, standing on the ground now
occupied by the British Museum, which in this reign was backed by lonely
fields, the dread scenes of "robbery, murder, and every species of
depravity and wickedness of which the heart can think."

Besides the grounds and gardens surrounding these stately mansions, a
further aspect of space and freshness was added to the capital by
public parks. Foremost amongst these was St. James's, to which the merry
monarch added several fields, and for its greater advantage employed
Monsieur La Notre, the famous French landscape-gardener. Amongst the
improvements this ingenious man effected were planting trees of stately
height, contriving a canal one hundred feet broad and two hundred and
eighty feet long, with a decoy and duck island, [The goodnatured Charles
made Monsieur St. Evremond governor of Duck Island, to which position he
attached a salary much appreciated by the exile. The island was removed
in 1790 to make room for fresh improvements.] and making a pleasant
pathway bordered by an aviary on either side, usually called Bird Cage
Walk. An enclosure for deer was formed in the centre of the park; not
far removed was the famous Physic Garden, where oranges were first seen
in England; and at the western end, where Buckingham Palace has been
erected, stood Arlington House, described as "a most neat box, and
sweetly seated amongst gardens, enjoying the prospect of the park and
the adjoining fields."

The great attraction of St. James's Park was the Mall, which Monsieur
Sorbiere tells us was a walk "eight hundred and fifty paces in length,
beset with rows of large trees, and near a small wood, from whence you
may see a fine mead, a long canal, Westminster Abbey, and the suburbs,
which afford an admirable prospect." This path was skirted by a wooded
border, and at the extreme end was set with iron hoops, "for the purpose
of playing a game with a ball called the mall." ["Our Pall Mall is,
I believe, derived from paille maille, a game somewhat analogous to
cricket, and imported from France in the reign of the second Charles.
It was formerly played in St. James's Park, and in the exercise of the
sport a small hammer or mallet was used to strike the ball. I think it
worth noting that the Malhe crest is a mailed arm and hand, the latter
grasping a mallet."--NOTES AND QUERIES, 1st series, vol. iii. p. 351.]

In St. James's Park Samuel Pepys first saw the Duke of York playing
at "pelemele"; and likewise in 1662 witnessed with astonishment people
skate upon the ice there, skates having been just introduced from
Holland; on another occasion he enjoyed the spectacle of Lords
Castlehaven and Arran running down and killing a stout buck for a wager
before the king. And one sultry July day, meeting an acquaintance here,
the merry soul took him to the farther end, where, seating himself under
a tree in a corner, he sung him some blithesome songs. It was likewise
in St. James's Park the Duke of York, meeting John Milton one day, asked
him if his blindness was not to be regarded as a just punishment from
heaven, due to his having written against the martyred king. "If so,
sir," replied the great poet and staunch republican, "what must we think
of his majesty's execution upon a scaffold?" To which question his royal
highness vouchsafed no reply.

It was a favourite custom of his majesty, who invariably rose betimes,
to saunter in the park whilst the day was young and pass an hour or two
in stroking the heads of his feathered favourites in the aviary, feeding
the fowls in the pond with biscuits, and playing with the crowd of
spaniels ever attending his walks. For his greater amusement he had
brought together in the park a rare and valuable collection of birds
and beasts; amongst which were, according to a quaint authority, "an
onocratylus, or pelican, a fowl between a stork and a swan--a melancholy
water-fowl brought from Astracan by the Russian ambassador." This writer
tells us, "It was diverting to see how the pelican would toss up and
turn a flat fish, plaice or flounder, to get it right into its gullet
at its lower beak, which being filmy stretches to a prodigious wideness
when it devours a great fish. Here was also a small water-fowl, not
bigger than a more-hen, that went almost quite erect like the penguin
of America. It would eate as much fish as its whole body weighed, yet ye
body did not appear to swell the bigger. The Solan geese here are also
great devourers, and are said soon to exhaust all ye fish in a pond.
Here was a curious sort of poultry not much exceeding the size of a tame
pidgeon, with legs so short as their crops seemed to touch ye earth; a
milk-white raven; a stork which was a rarity at this season, seeing
he was loose and could fly loftily; two Balearian cranes, one of which
having had one of his leggs broken, and cut off above the knee, had a
wooden or boxen leg and thigh, with a joint so accurately made that ye
creature could walke and use it as well as if it had ben natural; it
was made by a souldier. The park was at this time stored with numerous
flocks of severall sorts of ordinary and extraordinary wild fowle
breeding about the decoy, which, looking neere so greate a citty,
and among such a concourse of souldiers and people, is a singular and
diverting thing. There are also deere of several countries, white,
spotted like leopards; antelopes, an elk, red deere, roebucks, staggs,
Guinea goates, Arabian sheepe, etc. There are withy-potts or nests for
the wild fowle to lay their eggs in, a little above ye surface of ye

Hyde Park, lying close by, likewise afforded a pleasant and convenient
spot for recreation. Here, in a large circle railed off and known as the
Ring, the world of quality and fashion took the air in coaches. The
king and queen, surrounded by a goodly throng of maids of honour and
gentlemen in waiting, were wont to ride here on summer evenings, whilst
courtiers and citizens looked on the brilliant cavalcade with loyal
delight. Horse and foot races were occasionally held in the park, as
were reviews likewise, Cosmo, Grand Duke of Tuscany, "a very jolly and
good comely man," whilst visiting England in 1669, was entertained by
his majesty with a military parade held here one Sunday in May.

On arriving at Hyde Park, he found a great concourse of people and
carriages waiting the coming of his majesty, who presently appeared
with the Duke of York and many lords and gentlemen of the court. Having
acknowledged an enthusiastic greeting, Charles retired under shade of
some trees, in order to protect himself from the sun, and then gave
orders for the troops to march past. "The whole corps," says the Grand
Duke, "consisted of two regiments of infantry, and one of cavalry, and
of three companies of the body-guard, which was granted to the king by
parliament since his return, and was formed of six hundred horsemen,
each armed with carabines and pistols, all well mounted and dressed,
which are uniform in every thing but colour. When they had marched by,
without firing either a volley or a salve, his majesty dismounted from
his horse, and entering his carriage, retired to Whitehall."

Besides such diversions as were enjoyed in the parks, the people had
various other sources of public amusement; amongst these puppet-shows,
exhibitions of strength and agility, bear-baiting, cock-fighting, and
dancing obtained. Until the restoration, puppet-shows had not been seen
for years; for these droll dolls, being regarded as direct agents of
Satan, were discountenanced by the puritans. With the coming of his
majesty they returned in vast numbers, and were hailed with great
delight by the people. One of these exhibitions which found special
favour with the town, and speedily drew great audiences of gallants and
ladies of quality, was situated within the rails of Covent Garden. And
so perfect were the marionettes of this booth in the performance of
divers sad tragedies and gay comedies, that they had the honour of
receiving a royal command to play before their majesties at Whitehall.
Amongst the most famous tumblers, or, as they were then styled,
posturemakers, of this reign were Jacob Hall the friend of my Lady
Castlemaine, and Joseph Clarke, beloved by the citizens. Though the
latter was "a well-made man and rather gross than thin," we are told he
"exhibited in the most natural manner almost every species of deformity
and dislocation; he could dislocate his vertebrae so as to render
himself a shocking spectacle; he could also assume all the uncouth faces
he had seen at a quaker's meeting, at the theatre, or any public place.
He was likewise the plague of all the tailors about town. He would send
for one of them to take measure of him, but would so contrive it as to
have a most immoderate rising in one of his shoulders; when his clothes
were brought home and tried upon him, the deformity was removed into the
other shoulder, upon which the tailor begged pardon for the mistake,
and mended it as fast as he could; but on another trial found him as
straight-shouldered a man as one would desire to see, but a little
unfortunate in a hump back. In fact, this wandering tumour puzzled
all the workmen about town, who found it impossible to accommodate so
changeable a customer."

Florian Marchand, "the water-spouter," was another performer who
enjoyed considerable fame. Such was the dexterity of this conjurer that,
"drinking only fountaine-water, he rendered out of his mouth in severall
glasses all sorts of wine and sweete waters." A Turk, who walked up an
almost perpendicular line by means of his toes, danced blindfold on a
tight rope with a boy dangling from his feet, and stood on his head on
the top of a high mast, shared an equal popularity with Barbara Vanbeck,
the bearded woman, and "a monstrous beast, called a dromedary." These
wondrous sights, together with various others of a like kind, which were
scattered throughout the town and suburbs during the greater part of
the year, assembled in full strength at the fairs of St. Margaret,
Southwark, and St. Bartholomew, in Smithfield. These gatherings, which
usually lasted a fortnight, were looked forward to with considerable
pleasure, and frequented not only by citizens bent on sport, but by
courtiers in search of adventure.

Nay, even her majesty was tempted on one occasion to go a-fairing, as we
gather from a letter addressed to Sir Robert Paston, contained in Ives's
select papers. "Last week," says the writer thereof, "the queen, the
Duchess of Richmond, and the Duchess of Buckingham had a frolick
to disguise themselves like country lasses, in red petticoates,
waistcoates, etc., and so goe see the faire. Sir Bernard Gascoign, on a
cart jade, rode before the queen; another stranger before the Duchess of
Buckingham, and Mr. Roper before Richmond. They had all so overdone it
in their disguise, and look'd so much more like antiques than country
volk, that as soon as they came to the faire, the people began to goe
after them; but the queen going to a booth to buy a pair of yellow
stockins for her sweethart, and Sir Bernard asking for a pair of gloves,
sticht with blew, for his sweethart, they were soon, by their gebrish,
found to be strangers, which drew a bigger flock about them. One amongst
them [who] had seen the queen at dinner, knew her, and was proud of her
knowledge. This soon brought all the faire into a crowd to stare at the
queen. Being thus discovered, they as soon as they could got to their
horses; but as many of the faire as had horses, got up with their wives,
children, sweetharts, or neighbours behind them, to get as much gape as
they could till they brought them to the court gate. Thus by ill conduct
was a merry frolick turned into a penance."

On another occasion my Lady Castlemaine went to Bartholomew fair to see
the puppets play "Patient Grissel;" and there was the street "full of
people expecting her coming out," who, when she appeared, "suffered her
with great respect to take the coach." Not only the king's mistress, but
likewise the whole court went to St. Margaret's fair to see "an Italian
wench daunce and performe all the tricks on the high rope to admiration;
and monkies and apes do other feates of activity." "They," says a
quaint author, "were gallantly clad A LA MODE, went upright, saluted the
company, bowing and pulling off their hats, with as good a grace as
if instructed by a dancing master. They turned heels over head with
a basket having eggs in it, without breaking any; also with lighted
candles on their heads, without extinguishing them; and with vessells of
water without spilling a drop."

The cruel sport of bull and bear baiting was also commonly practised.
Seated round an amphitheatre, the people witnessed these unfortunate
animals being torn to pieces by dogs, the owners of which frequently
jumped into the arena to urge them to their sanguinary work, on the
result of which great wagers depended. Indignation arising against those
who witnessed such sights may be somewhat appeased by the knowledge that
infuriated bulls occasionally tossed the torn and bleeding carcases of
their tormentors into the faces and laps of spectators. Pepys frequently
speaks of dense crowds which assembled to witness this form of cruelty,
which he designates as good sport; and Evelyn speaks of a gallant steed
that, under the pretence that he had killed a man, was baited by dogs,
but fought so hard for his life "the fiercest of them could not fasten
on him till he was run through with swords." Not only bull and bear
baiting, cock and dog fighting were encouraged, but prize combats
between man and man were regarded as sources of great diversion. Pepys
gives a vivid picture of a furious encounter he, in common with a great
and excited crowd, witnessed at the bear-garden stairs, at Bankside,
between a butcher and a waterman. "The former," says he, "had the better
all along, till by-and-by the latter dropped his sword out of his hand;
and the butcher, whether not seeing his sword dropped I know not, but
did give him a cut over the wrist, so as he was disabled to fight any
longer. But Lord! to see how in a minute the whole stage was full of
watermen to revenge the foul play, and the butchers to defend their
fellow, though most blamed him; and then they all fell to it to knocking
down and cutting many on each side. It was pleasant to see, but that I
stood in the pit, and feared that in the tumult I might get some hurt."

Among the more healthy sports which obtained during the reign were
horse-racing, tennis, and bowling. The monarch had, at vast expense,
built a house and stables at Newmarket, where he and his court regularly
repaired, to witness racing. Here likewise the king and "ye jolly blades
enjoyed dauncing, feasting, and revelling, more resembling a luxurious
and abandoned route than a Christian court." He had likewise a
tennis-court and bowling green at Whitehall, where at noonday and
towards eve, blithe lords, and ladies in brave apparel, might be seen
at play. Bowling was a game to which the people were much devoted,
every suburban tavern having its green, where good friends and honest
neighbours challenged each other's strength and skill. And amongst other
pleasant sports and customs were those practised on May-day, when
maids rose betimes to bathe their faces in dew, that they might become
sweet-complexioned to men's sight; and milk-maids with garlands of
spring flowers upon their pails, and posies in their breasts, danced to
the merry music of fiddles adown the streets.


  Court customs in the days of the merry monarch.--Dining in public.--The
  Duke of Tuscany's supper to the king.--Entertainment of guests by
  mountebanks.--Gaming at court.--Lady Castlemaine's losses.--A fatal
  duel.--Dress of the period.--Riding-habits first seen.--His majesty
  invents a national costume.--Introduction of the penny post.--Divorce
  suits are known.--Society of Antiquaries.--Lord Worcester's
  inventions.--The Duchess of Newcastle.

Few courts have been more brilliant than that of the merry monarch. All
the beauty of fair women, the gallantry of brave men, and the gaiety of
well-approved wits could compass, perpetually surrounded his majesty,
making the royal palace a lordly pleasure house. Noble banquets,
magnificent balls, and brilliant suppers followed each other in quick
succession. Three times a week--on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays--the
king and queen dined publicly in ancient state, whilst rare music was
discoursed, and many ceremonies observed, amongst these being that each
servitor of the royal table should eat some bread dipped in sauce of the
dish he bore. On these occasions meats for the king's table were brought
from the kitchen by yeomen of the guard, or beef-eaters. These men,
selected as being amongst the handsomest, strongest, and tallest in
England, were dressed in liveries of red cloth, faced with black velvet,
having the king's cipher on the back, and on the breast the emblems of
the Houses of York and Lancaster. By them the dishes were handed to the
gentlemen in waiting, who served royalty upon their knees. "You see,"
said Charles one day to the Chevalier de Grammont, "how I am waited on."
"I thank your majesty for the explanation," said the saucy Frenchman;
"I thought they were begging pardon for offering you so bad a dinner."
[This mode of serving the sovereign continued unto the coming of George

The costliness and splendour of some royal entertainments require the
description of an eye-witness to be fully realized. Evelyn, speaking of
a great feast given to the Knights of the Garter in the banqueting-hall,
tells us "the king sat on an elevated throne, at the upper end of the
table alone, the knights at a table on the right hand, reaching all the
length of the roome; over against them a cupboard of rich gilded plate;
at the lower end the musick; on the balusters above, wind musick,
trumpets, and kettle-drums. The king was served by the lords and
pensioners who brought up the dishes. About the middle of the dinner the
knights drank the king's health, then the king theirs, when the trumpets
and musick plaid and sounded, the guns going off at the Tower. At the
banquet came in the queene and stood by the king's left hand hand,
but did not sit. Then was the banquetting stuff flung about the roome
profusely. In truth the crowd was so great that I now staied no
longer than this sport began for fear of disorder. The cheere was
extraordinary, each knight having forty dishes to his messe, piled up
five or six high."

Concerning the habit mentioned by Evelyn, of mobs rushing into
banquet-halls, in order to possess themselves of all on which they could
lay hands, many instances are mentioned. The Duke of Tuscany, amongst
other authorities, narrates the inconvenience it caused at a supper he
gave the king. When his majesty drove to the duke's residence he was
preceded by trumpeters and torch-bearers, attended by the horse-guards
and a retinue of courtiers, and accompanied by a vast crowd. On
alighting from the coach the Duke of Tuscany, together with the noblemen
and gentlemen of his household, received and conducted him through
passages lighted by torches to the banquet-hall. From the ceiling of
this saloon was suspended a chandelier of rock crystal, blazing with
tapers; beneath it stood a circular table, at the upper end of which was
placed a chair of state for the king. The whole entertainment was costly
and magnificent. As many as eighty dishes were set upon the table;
foreign wines, famous for great age and delicate flavour, sparkled in
goblets of chased gold; and finally, a dessert of Italian fruits and
Portuguese sweetmeats was served. But scarce had this been laid upon the
board, when the impatient crowd which had gathered round the house and
forced its way inside to witness the banquet, now violently burst
into the saloon and carried away all that lay before them. Neither the
presence of the king nor the appearance of his soldiers guarding the
entrance with carbines was sufficient to prevent entrance or hinder
pillage. Charles, used to such scenes, left the table and retired into
the duke's private apartments.

A quaint and curious account of a less ceremonious and more convivial
feast, also graced by the king's presence, was narrated by Sir Hugh
Cholmely to a friend and gossip. This supper was given by Sir George
Carteret, a man of pleasant humour, and moreover treasurer of the navy.
By the time the meats were removed, the king and his courtiers waxed
exceedingly merry, when Sir William Armorer, equerry to his majesty,
came to him and swore, "'By God, sir,' says he, 'you are not so kind
to the Duke of York of late as you used to be.' 'Not I?' says the king.
'Why so?' 'Why,' says he, 'if you are, let us drink his health.' 'Why,
let us,' says the king. Then he fell on his knees and drank it; and
having done, the king began to drink it. 'Nay, sir,' says Armorer; 'by
God, you must do it on your knees!' So he did, and then all the company;
and having done it, all fell acrying for joy, being all maudlin and
kissing one another, the king the Duke of York, the Duke of York the
king; and in such a maudlin pickle as never people were."

Throughout this reign the uttermost hospitality and good-fellowship
abounded. Scarce a day passed that some noble house did not throw open
its doors to a brilliant throng of guests; few nights grew to dawn that
the vicinities of St. James's and Covent Garden were not made brilliant
by the torches of those accompanying revellers to their homes. The
fashionable hour for dinner was three of the clock, and for greater
satisfaction of guests it now became the mode to entertain them after
that meal with performances of mountebanks and musicians, Various
diaries inform us of this custom. When my Lord Arlington had bidden his
friends to a feast, he subsequently diverted them by the tricks of a
fellow who swallowed a knife in a horn sheath, together with several
pebbles, which he made rattle in his stomach, and produced again, to the
wonder and amusement of all who beheld him. [At a great dinner given by
this nobleman, Evelyn, who was present, tells us that Lord Stafford, the
unfortunate nobleman afterwards executed on Tower Hill, "rose from the
table in some disorder, because there were roses stuck about the fruite
when the descert was set on the table; such an antipathie it seems he
had to them, as once Lady St. Leger also had, and to that degree, that,
as Sirr Kenelm Digby tell us, laying but a rose upon her cheeke when she
was asleepe, it raised a blister; but Sir Kenelm was a teller of strange
things."] The master of the mint, worthy Mr. Slingsby, a man of finer
taste, delighted his guests with the performances of renowned good
masters of music, one of whom, a German, played to great perfection on
an instrument with five wire strings called the VOIL D'AMORE; whilst
my Lord Sunderland treated his visitors to a sight of Richardson, the
renowned fire eater, who was wont to devour brimstone on glowing coals;
melt a beer-glass and eat it up; take a live coal on his tongue, on
which he put a raw oyster, and let it remain there till it gaped and was
quite broiled; take wax, pitch and sulphur, and drink them down flaming;
hold a fiery hot iron between his teeth, and throw it about like a stone
from hand to hand, and perform various other prodigious feats.

Other means of indoor amusement were practised in those days, which
seem wholly incompatible with the gravity of the nation in these latter
times. Pepys tells us that going to the court one day he found the Duke
and Duchess of York, with all the great ladies, sitting upon a carpet on
the ground playing "I love my love with an A, because he is so-and-so;
and I hate him with an A, because of this and that;" and some of the
ladies were mighty witty, and all of them very merry. Grown persons
likewise indulged in games of blind man's buff, and amusements of a
like character; whilst at one time, the king, queen, and the whole court
falling into much extravagance, as Burnet says, "went about masked, and
came into houses unknown, and danced there with a great deal of wild
frolic. In all this they were so disguised, that without being in the
secret, none could distinguish them. They were carried about in hackney
chairs. Once the queen's chairmen, not knowing who she was, went from
her; so she was alone and was much disturbed, and came to Whitehall in a
hackney coach; some say it was in a cart."

Dancing was also a favourite and common amusement amongst all classes.
Scarce a week went by that Whitehall was not lighted up for a ball,
at which the king, queen, and courtiers danced bransles, corants, and
French figures; [The bransle, or brawl, had all the characteristics of
a country-dance; several persons taking part in it, and all at various
times joining hands. The corant was a swift lively dance, in which two
persons only took part, and was not unlike our modern galop.] and no
night passed but such entertainments were likewise held in the city.
Billiards and chess were also played, whilst gambling became a ruling
passion. The queen, Duchess of York, and Duchess of Cleveland had
each her card-table, around which courtiers thronged to win and lose
prodigious sums. The latter being a thorough rake at heart, delighted
in the excitement which hazard afforded; and the sums changing owners
at her hoard were sometimes enormous. Occasionally she played for a
thousand, or fifteen hundred pounds at a cast, and in a single night
lost as much as twenty-five hundred guineas. It is related that once
when playing basset she lost all her money; but, being unwilling to
retire, and hopeful of regaining her losses, she asked young Churchill,
on whom she had bestowed many favours, to lend her twenty pieces. Though
the wily youth had a thousand before him on the table, he coolly refused
her request, on the plea that the bank--which he was then keeping--never
lent. "Not a person in the place," says the narrator of this anecdote,
"but blamed him; as to the duchess, her resentment burst out into a
bleeding at her nose, and breaking of her lace, without which aid it is
believed her vexation had killed her on the spot."

The courtly Evelyn speaks of a certain Twelfth-night, when the king
opened the revels in his privy chamber by throwing dice, and losing
one hundred pounds; and Pepys describes the groom-porters' rooms where
gambling greatly obtained, and "where persons of the best quality do sit
down with people of any, though meaner." Cursing and swearing, grumbling
and rejoicing, were heard here to an accompanying rattle of guineas; the
whole causing dense confusion. And amongst the figures crouching round
the tables of this hell, that of my Lord St. Albans was conspicuous. So
great, indeed, was his passion for gambling, that when approaching his
eightieth year, and quite blind, he was unable to renounce his love for
cards, but with the help of a servant who named them to him, indulged
himself in this way as of yore.

As may be expected, disputes, frequently ending in duels, continually
arose betwixt those who gambled. Although the king had, on his
restoration, issued a proclamation against this common practice,
threatening such as engaged in it with displeasure, declaring them
incapable of holding any office in his service, and forbidding them to
appear at court, yet but little attention was paid his words, and duels
continually took place, Though most frequently resorted to as a means
of avenging outraged honour, they were occasionally the result of
misunderstanding. A pathetic story is told of a fatal encounter, caused
by a trifle light as air, which took place in the year 1667 at Covent
Garden, between Sir Henry Bellasis and Tom Porter--the same witty soul
who wrote a play called "The Villain," which was performed at the Duke's
Theatre, and described as "a pleasant tragedy."

These worthy gentlemen and loyal friends loved each other exceedingly.
One fatal day, both were bidden to dine with Sir Robert Carr, at whose
table it was known all men drank freely; and having feasted, they two
talked apart, when bluff Sir Henry, giving words of counsel to honest
Tom, from force of earnestness spoke louder than his wont. Marvelling
at this, some of those standing apart said to each other, "Are they
quarrelling, that they talk so high?" overhearing which the baronet
replied in a merry tone, "No, I would have you know I never quarrel but
I strike; and take that as a rule of mine." At these words Tom Porter,
being anxious, after the manner of those who have drunk deep, to
apprehend offence in speech of friend or foe, cried out he would like to
see the man in England that durst give him a blow. Accepting this as
a challenge, Sir Henry dealt him a stroke on the ear, which the other
would have returned in anger but that they were speedily parted.

And presently Tom Porter, leaving the house full of resentment for the
injury he had received, and of resolution to avenge it, met Mr. Dryden
the poet, to whom he recounted the story. He concluded by requesting he
might have his boy to bring him word which way Sir Henry Bellasis would
drive, for fight he would that night, otherwise he felt sure they should
be friends in the morning, and the blow would rest upon him. Dryden
complying with his request, Tom Porter, still inflamed by fury, went
to a neighbouring coffee-house, when presently word arrived Sir Harry's
coach was coming that way. On this Tom Porter rushed out, stopped the
horses, and bade the baronet alight. "Why," said the man, who but an
hour before had been his best friend, "you will not hurt me in coming
out, will you?" "No," answered the other shortly. Sir Henry then
descended, and both drew their swords. Tom Porter asked him if he were
ready, and hearing he was, they fought desperately, till of a sudden
a sharp cry was heard; Sir Henry's weapon fell upon the ground, and
he placed one hand to his side, from which blood flowed freely. Then
calling his opponent to him, he looked in his face reproachfully, kissed
him lovingly, and bade him seek safety. "For, Tom," said he, struggling
hard to speak, "thou hast hurt me; but I will make shift to stand upon
my legs till thou mayest withdraw, and the world not take notice of
you, for," continued he, with much tenderness, "I would not have thee
troubled for what thou hast done." And the little crowd who had gathered
around carried him to his coach and twenty days later they followed him
to his grave.

Throughout this merry reign, many fantastic changes took place in the
costumes of courtiers and their followers. At the restoration, the
dress most common to women of all ranks consisted of a gown with a laced
stomacher and starched neckerchief, a sad-coloured cloak with a French
hood, and a high-crowned hat. Such habiliments, admitting of little
variety and less ornament, found no favour in the eyes of those who
returned from foreign courts with the king, and therefore a change was
gradually effected. The simple gown of wool and cotton gave place to
loose and flowing draperies of silk and satin; the stiff neckerchief was
removed to display fair shoulders and voluptuous breasts; the hat was
bedecked by feathers of rare plumage and rich colour; the cloaks changed
hues from sad to gay; the hoods being of "yellow bird's eye," and other
bright tints. Indeed, the prodigal manner in which ladies of quality now
exposed their bosoms, though pleasing to the court, became a matter of
grave censure to worthy men. One of these in a pamphlet, entitled
"A Just and Seasonable Reprehension of Naked Breasts and Shoulders,"
charges women of fashion with "overlacing their gown bodies, and
so thrusting up their breasts in order that they might show them
half-naked." It was not only at balls and in chambers of entertainment,
he avowed, they appeared in this manner, but likewise at church,
where their dress was "not only immodest, but sometimes impudent and
lascivious;" for they braved all dangers to have the satisfaction of
being seen, and the consolation of giving pleasure.

The riding-habit, first introduced in 1664 caused considerable notice,
and no small amount of mirth. The garb, as it was called, consisted of
a doublet buttoned up the breast, a coat with long skirts, a periwig and
tall hat, so that women clad in this fashion might be mistaken for men,
if it were not for the petticoat which dragged under the coat. At the
commencement of the reign, ladies of the court wore their hair after the
French fashion, cut short in front and frizzed upon the forehead.
When the queen arrived, her hair was arranged A LA NEGLIGENCE, a mode
declared mighty pretty; but presently a fashion came in vogue of wearing
"false locks set on wyres to make them stand at a distance from the
head; as fardingales made the clothes stand out in Queen Elizabeth's
reign." Painting the face, which had been practised during the
Commonwealth, became fashionable; as did likewise the use of patches
and vizards or masks; which from the convenience they afforded wearers
whilst witnessing an immoral play, or conducting a delicate intrigue,
came greatly into use.

According to Randal Holmes's notes on dress, in the Harleian Library,
the male costume at the restoration consisted of "a short-waisted
doublet, and petticoat breeches--the lining, being lower than the
breeches, is tied above the knees. The breeches are ornamented with
ribands up to the pocket, and half their breadth upon the thigh; the
waistband is set about with ribands, and the shirt hanging out over
them." This dress gradually increased in richness and ornamentation: the
doublet and breeches being changed from cloth to velvet and satin, the
hat trimmed with plumes of gay feathers, and the neck adorned with bands
of cambric, trimmed with Flanders and Brussels lace. The perfection and
costliness to which the costume eventually reached is best shown by a
description of Sir Richard Fanshaw ambassador of the king, as presented
in the diary of his spouse. "Sir Richard was dressed," she writes, "in
a very rich suit of clothes of a dark FILLEMONTE brocade, laced with
silver and gold lace--nine laces--every one as broad as my hand, and
a little silver and gold lace laid between them, both of very curious
workmanship; his suit was trimmed with scarlet taffety ribbon; his
stockings of white silk upon long scarlet silk ones; his shoes black,
with scarlet shoestrings and gaiters; his linen very fine, laced with
rich Flanders lace; a black beaver buttoned on the left side with a
jewel of twelve hundred pounds' value, a rich curious wrought gold
chain, made in the Indies at which hung the king his master's picture,
richly set with diamonds; on his fingers he wore two rich rings; his
gloves trimmed with the same ribbon as his clothes."

The uttermost extravagance and luxury in dress now obtained; indeed,
to such a passion and pride did it reach that the monarch resolved on
giving it some check by inventing a suit of plainer pretensions, which
should become the national costume, and admit no change.

This determination he solemnly declared to his council in October, 1666,
and on the 14th of the month appeared clad in a long vest slashed with
white silk, reaching the knee, having the sword girt over it, a loose
coat, straight Spanish breeches ruffled with black ribbons, and buskins
instead of shoes and stockings. Though the habit was pronounced decent
and becoming to his majesty, and was quickly adopted by the courtiers,
there were those amongst his friends who offered him a wager he would
not persist in wearing it long. At this the king stated his resolution
afresh of never changing; but before the month was out he had made an
alteration, for inasmuch as the vest being slashed with white, was said
by a wag to make the wearers look like magpies, his majesty changed the
colour of the silk to black. This "manly and comely habit" might
have become permanently the fashion, if the King of France, by way of
ridiculing the merry monarch, had not caused his footmen to be clad in
like manner. Therefore, in less than two years, this mode gave place
to others more fantastical. The vest was retained, but the shape and
material were altered; the surcoat of cloth was discarded for velvet and
rich plush, adorned with buckles of precious stones and chains of gold;
the Spanish leather boots were laid aside for high-heeled shoes with
rosettes and silver buckles. Towards the close of the reign the costume
became much plainer. Through all these varying fashions the periwig,
introduced in 1663, held its own, increasing in length and luxuriance
with time. On its first coming into general use, the clergy had cried
out against it as ministering to the vanity and extravagance of the age;
but in a while many of them adopted its use, for, as Granger remarks,
"it was observed that a periwig procured many persons a respect and even
veneration which they mere strangers to before, and to which they had
not the least claim from their personal merit."

Amongst other strange innovations and various improvements known in
this reign, the introduction of a penny post may be considered the
most useful. King James I., of happy memory, had, in imitation of like
regulations in other countries, established a general post for foreign
parts; King Charles I. had given orders to Thomas Witherings, Esquire,
his postmaster-general, to settle "a running post or two, to run night
and day between Edinburgh, in Scotland, and the city of London, to go
thither and back in six days;" but the organization of a penny post,
for the conveyance of letters and parcels throughout the capital
and suburbs, was reserved for the reign of the merry monarch. This
beneficial scheme was originated by an upholsterer named Murray, who
communicated it to one William Dockwra, a man who for over ten years had
laboured with fidelity in the Custom House. Uniting their efforts, they,
with great labour and vast expense, carried the plan into execution in
the year 1680.

The principal office was stationed at the residence of William Dockwra,
in Lime Street; seven sorting-houses and as many as four hundred
receiving-houses were speedily established in the cities of London,
Westminster, and the suburbs; and a great number of clerks and
messengers were employed to collect, enter, and deliver parcels and
letters not exceeding one pound in weight nor ten pounds in value.
Stamps were used as an acknowledgment that postage was paid, and
likewise to mark the hours when letters were sent out from the offices,
by which, in case of delay, its cause might be traced to the messengers;
and deliveries took place ten times in the vicinity of the Exchange and
Inns of Court, and four times in the suburbs daily. All persons were
requested to post their communications before six o'clock in the winter,
and seven in the summer, on Saturday nights, "that the many poor men
employed may have a little time to provide for their families against
the Lord's Day." And it was moreover intimated that upon three days at
Christmas, and two at Easter and Whitsuntide, as likewise upon the 30th
of January, the post would not be delivered.

From the first this scheme promised success, the manner in which it was
carried out being wholly admirable; yet there were many who raised their
voices against it persistently. Porters and messengers declared it
took away their means of subsistence; whilst those of higher grade were
confident it was a contrivance of the papists, which enabled them
to carry out their wicked schemes with greater security. But these
illusions vanished with time; and the penny post became such a success
that Government laid claim to it as a branch of the General Post Office,
and annexed its revenues to the Crown. [In the year 1703 Queen Anne
bestowed a grant on Elizabeth, Dowager countess of Thanet, to erect a
penny post-office in Dublin, similar to that in existence in London.]

Another innovation in this interesting reign were stage-coaches,
described as affording "admirable commodiousness both for men and women
of better rank, to travel from London and to almost all the villages
near this great city, that the like hath not been known in the world,
wherein one may be transported to any place, sheltered from foul weather
and foul ways, free from endamaging one's health or body by hard jogging
or over-violent emotion, and this not only at a low price, as about a
shilling for every five miles in a day; for the stage-coaches called
flying coaches make forty or fifty miles in a day, as from London to
Cambridge or Oxford, and that in the space of twelve hours, not counting
the time for dining, setting forth not too early, nor coming in too

Likewise were divorce suits introduced whilst Charles II. sat upon the
throne for the first time--if the case of Henry VIII. be excepted--when
my Lord Rosse, in consequence of the misconduct of his lady, had a bill
brought into the House of Lords for dissolving his marriage and enabling
him to wed again. There being at this period, 1669, a project for
divorcing the king from the queen, it was considered Lord Rosse's suit,
if successful, would facilitate a like bill in favour of his majesty.
After many and stormy debates his lordship gained his case by a majority
of two votes. It is worth noting that two of the lords spiritual, Dr.
Cosin, Bishop of Durham, and Dr. Wilkins, Bishop of Chester, voted in
favour of the bill.

The social history of this remarkable reign would be incomplete without
mention of the grace and patronage which Charles II. extended towards
the Society of Antiquaries. This learned body, according to Stow, had
been in existence since the days of Elizabeth; but for lack of royal
acknowledgment of its worth and lore, was permitted to languish in
neglect and finally become extinct. However, under the commonwealth the
society had revived, from the fact that numbers of the nobility being
unemployed in affairs of state, and having no court to attend, applied
themselves whilst in retirement to the study of chemistry, mathematics,
mechanism, and natural philosophy. The Duke of Devonshire, Marquis of
Worcester, Viscount Brouncker, Honourable Robert Boyle, and Sir Robert
Murray, built laboratories, made machines, opened mines, and perfected
inventions. When the temper of the times permitted, these men, with
various others of like tastes, drew together, held weekly meetings at
Gresham College in Bishopsgate Street, discoursed on abstruse subjects,
and heard erudite lectures, from Dr. Petty on chemistry, from Dr. Wren
on astronomy, from Mr. Laurence Rooke on geometry; so that the Society
of Antiquaries may be said to have been founded in the last years of the

Now Charles II., having some knowledge of chemistry and science, looked
upon the society with favourable eyes; and in the first year of his
restoration desired to become one of its members; expressed satisfaction
it had been placed upon a proper basis in his reign; represented
the difficulty of its labours; suggested certain investigations, and
declared his interest in all its movements. Moreover, in the year 1662
he bestowed on the society a charter in which he styled himself its
founder and patron; presented it with a silver mace to be borne before
the president on meeting days; and gave it the use of the royal arms
for a seal. Nor did his concern for its welfare cease here. He was
frequently present at its meetings, and occasionally witnessed, and
assisted "with his own hands," in the performance of experiments. Some
of these were of a singularly interesting character; amongst which may
be mentioned infusion of the blood of an animal into the veins of a man.
This took place in the year 1667, the subject being one Arthur Coga,
a minister poor in worldly substance, who, in exchange for a guinea,
consented to have the operation performed on him. Accordingly two
surgeons of great skill and learning, named Lower and King, on a certain
day injected twelve ounces of sheep's blood into his veins. After which
he smoked an honest pipe in peace, drank a glass of good canary with
relish, and found himself no worse in mind or body. And in two days more
fourteen ounces of sheep's blood were substituted for eight of his own
without loss of virility to him.

Nor were experiments in vivisection unknown to the Royal Society, as it
was called, for the "Philosophical Transactions" speak of a dog being
tied through the back above the spinal artery, thereby depriving him of
motion until the artery was loosened, when he recovered; and again, it
is recorded that Dr. Charleton cut the spleen out of a living dog with
good success.

The weighty discourses of the learned men who constituted the society
frequently delighted his majesty; though it must be confessed he
sometimes laughed at them, and once sorely puzzled them by asking
the following question. "Supposing," said Charles, assuming a serious
expression, and speaking in a solemn tone, "two pails of water were
placed in two different scales and weighed alike, and that a live bream
or small fish was put into one, now why should not the pail in which it
was placed weigh heavier than the other?" Most members were troubled to
find the king a fitting reply, and many strange theories were advanced
by way of explaining why the pail should not be found heavier, none of
them being thought satisfactory. But at last a man sitting far down
the table was heard to express an opinion, when those surrounding him
laughed; hearing which the king, who had not caught his words, asked him
to repeat them. "Why, your majesty," said he boldly, "I do believe the
pail would weigh heavier." "Odds-fish!" cried Charles, bursting out into
laughter, "you are right, my honest fellow!" and so the merriment became

The Royal Society was composed of men of quality with a genius for
investigation, and men of learning eager for further knowledge. Persons
of all nationalities, religions, and professions were admitted members;
and it was continually enriched by the addition of curiosities, amongst
which in particular were an herb which grew in the stomach of a thrush;
the skin of a Moor tanned, with the beard and hair white; a clock,
having movements directed by loadstone; an ostrich, whose young had been
born alive; mummies; strange fish; and the hearts and livers of vipers.
Likewise was the society endowed with gifts, amongst the most notable
being the valuable library of Henry Howard, afterwards Duke of Norfolk.

Fostered by this society, science received its first impulse towards the
astounding progress it has since achieved. Nay, in this reign the
germs of some inventions were sown, which, subsequently springing into
existence, have startled the world by their novelty, utility, and
power, Monsieur Sorbiere, when in England, was shown a journal kept by
Montconis, concerning the transactions of the Royal Society, in which
several new devices, "which scarce can be believed unless seen," were
described. Amongst these were an instrument for showing alterations
in the weather, whether from heat, cold, wind, or rain; a method for
blowing up ships; a process for purifying salt water, so that it could
be drunk; and an instrument by which those ignorant of drawing could
sketch and design any object. He also states Dr. Wallis had taught one
born deaf and dumb to read.

In 1663, "the right honourable (and deservedly to be praised and
admired) Edward Somerset, Marquis of Worcester," published a quaint
volume entitled "A Century of the Names and Scantlings of such
Inventions as at present I can call to mind to have tried and perfected,
which (my former notes being lost) I have, at the instance of a powerful
friend, endeavoured to set down in such a way as may sufficiently
instruct me to put any of them in practice." Amongst these are
enumerated false decks, such as in a moment should kill and take
prisoners as many as should board the ship, without blowing her up, and
in a quarter of an hour's time should recover their former shape without
discovering the secret; a portable fortification, able to contain five
hundred men, which in the space of six hours might be set up, and made
cannon-proof; a dexterous tinder-box which served as a pistol, and
was yet capable of lighting a fire or candle at any hour of the night
without giving its possessor the trouble of stretching his hand from
bed; a lock, the ways of opening which might be varied ten millions of
times, but which on a stranger touching it would cause an alarm that
could not be stopped, and would register what moneys had been taken from
its keeping; a boat which would work against wind and tide; with various
other discoveries to the number of one hundred, all arrived at from
mathematical studies.

The means of propelling a boat against such disadvantages, to which the
Marquis of Worcester alludes, was in all probability by steam-power.
This he described as "an admirable and most forcible way to drive
up water by fire," the secret of which he is believed to have first
discovered. [Before the century was concluded, Captain Savery contrived
a steam-engine which was certainly the first put to practical uses. It
has been stated that he owed the knowledge of this invention to hints
conveyed in Lord Worcester's little volume.] In the preface to his
little book, the marquis states he had sacrificed from six to
seven hundred thousand pounds in bringing his various inventions to
perfection; after which it is satisfactory to find he derived
some profit from one of them, conceived, as he says, "by heavenly
inspiration." This was a water-engine for drying marsh-lands and mines,
requiring neither pump, suckers, barrels, bellows, nor external nor
additional help, save that afforded from its own operations. This engine
Sorbiere describes as one of the most curious things he had a mind to
see, and says one man by the help of this machine raised four large
buckets full of water in an instant forty feet high, through a pipe
eight inches long. An act of parliament was passed enabling the marquis
to reap the benefit and profit from this invention, subject to a tenth
part which was reserved for the king and his heirs.

The Royal Society soon became one of the foremost objects of interest
in the city. Foreigners of distinction were conducted to its rooms that
they might behold the visible signs of knowledge it could proudly boast;
and women of culture were admitted to hear the lectures its members

Amongst these latter may be mentioned the eccentric Duchess of
Newcastle; a lady who dressed her footmen in velvet coats, habited
herself in antique gowns, wrote volumes of plays and poetry, desired the
reputation of learning, and indulged in circumstances of pomp and state.
Having expressed her desire to be present at one of the meetings of
the Royal Society, the council prepared to receive her, not, it must be
admitted, without some fear her extravagance would expose them to the
ridicule of the town, and place them fit the mercy of ballad-mongers.
So it happened one fair May-day, in the year 1667 a vast concourse of
people had assembled to witness her arrival at Arundel House in the
Strand, where the society held its meetings for some years after
the burning of Gresham College. And she in good time reaching there,
surrounded by her maids of honour, gentlemen in waiting, and lackeys,
was met by the president, Viscount Brouncker, having his mace carried
before him, and was conducted to the great room. When the meeting was
over, various experiments were tried for her satisfaction; amongst
others a piece of roasted mutton was turned into pure blood. The while
she witnessed these sights, crowds of gallants gathered round her that
they might catch and retain such fine things as fell from her lips; but
she only cried out her wonder and admiration at all she saw; and at the
end of her visit was conducted in state to her coach by several noble
lords, notable amongst whom was a vastly pretty young man, Francis
Seymour, fifth Duke of Somerset.


  A period rich in literature.--John Milton's early life.--Writing
  "Paradise Lost."--Its publication and success.--His later works and
  death.--John Dryden gossips with wits and players.--Lord Rochester's
  revenge.--Elkanah Settle.--John Crowne.--Thomas Otway rich in
  miseries.--Dryden assailed by villains.--The ingenious Abraham
  Cowley.--The author of "Hudibras."--Young Will Wycherley and Lady
  Castlemaine--The story of his marriage.--Andrew Marvell, poet and
  politician.--John Bunyan.

The men of genius who lived in the days of the merry monarch have
rendered his reign, like that of Elizabeth, illustrious in the annals
of literature. The fact of "Paradise Lost," the "Pilgrim's Progress,"
"Hudibras," and "Alexander's Feast" being given to the world whilst
Charles II. occupied the throne, would have sufficiently marked the
epoch as one exceeding in intellectual brilliancy; but besides these
works, an abundance of plays, poems, satires, treatises, and histories
added fresh lustre to this remarkable age.

At the period of the restoration, John Milton had reached his
fifty-second year. He had studied in the University of Cambridge;
published the "Masque of Comus;" likewise a treatise against the
Established Church; taught school at Aldersgate Street; married a wife
and advocated divorce; printed a pamphlet to compose the minds of
those disturbed by the murder of Charles I.; as also a defence of his
murderers, justifying the monarch's execution, for which the author was
awarded a thousand pounds; had become secretary to Cromwell, whom he
stooped to flatter; and had even, on the advent of his majesty's
return, written and set forth "A Ready and Easy Way to establish a Free
Commonwealth." ["To your virtue," writes John Milton to Oliver Cromwell,
"overpowering and resistless, every man gives way, except some who,
without equal qualifications, aspire to equal honours, who envy the
distinctions of merit greater than their own, and who have yet to learn
that, in the coalition of human society, nothing is more pleasing to
God, or more agreeable to reason, than that the highest mind should have
the sovereign power. Such, sir, are you, by general confession: such
are the things achieved by you, the greatest and most glorious of
our countrymen, the director of our public councils, the leader of
unconquered armies the father of your country; for by that title does
every good man hail you with sincere and voluntary praise."]

On the landing of Charles II. Milton withdrew to the privacy afforded
by a residence in Bartholomew Close, near West Smithfield. For a time he
was apprehensive of punishment. His pamphlet justifying the late king's
execution was, with others of a like kind, burned by the common hangman;
but though parliament ordered the attorney-general would prosecute the
authors of these works, Milton was neither seized nor brought to trial.
Soon after his arrival, Charles published an act of grace promising free
pardon to those instrumental in overthrowing his father's government,
with the exception of such as had contrived his death; and inasmuch as
Milton had but justified that monstrous act after it had taken place,
he escaped condemnation. Moreover, he received a special pardon, which
passed the privy seal in December, 1660. His escape has been attributed
to his friend Davenant. This loyal soldier had, when taken by Cromwell's
troopers in the civil war, been condemned to speedy death; from which,
by Milton's intercession, he escaped; an act of mercy Davenant
now repaid in kind, by appealing to his friends in behalf of the
republican's safety.

Having secured his freedom, Milton lived in peace and obscurity in Jewin
Street, near Aldersgate Street. During the commonwealth his first wife,
the mother of his three children, had died; on which he sought solace
and companionship in a union with Catherine Woodcock, who survived her
marriage but twelve months; and being left free once more, he, in the
year of grace 1661, entered into the bonds of holy matrimony for a third
time, with Elizabeth Minshul, a lady of excellent family and shrewish
temper, who rendered his daughters miserable in their father's lifetime,
and defrauded them after his death.

In order to support his family he continued to keep a school, and
likewise employed himself in writing "Paradise Lost" the composition of
which he had begun five years previously. From his youth upwards he
had been ambitious to furnish the world with some important work; and
prevision of resulting fame had given him strength and fortitude in
periods of difficulty and depression. And now the time had arrived for
realization of his dream, though stricken by blindness, harassed by an
unquiet wife, and threatened by poverty, he laboured sore for fame. The
more fully to enjoy quiet necessary to his mental condition, he removed
to a house in Artillery Walk, Bunhill Fields. His life was one of
simplicity. He rose as early as four o'clock in summer and five in
winter, and being "smit with the love of sacred song," had a chapter of
the Bible read to him; studied until twelve, dined frugally at one, and
afterwards held discourse with such friends as came to visit him.

One of these was Thomas Elwood, a quaker much esteemed amongst good
men, who, in order that he might enjoy the advantages of the poet's
conversation, read Latin to him every afternoon save Sunday. The whilst
his voice rose and fell in regular monotony, the blind man drank his
words with thirsty ears; and so acute were the senses remaining to him,
that when Elwood read what he did not understand, Milton perceived it by
the inflection of his voice, and stopped him to explain the passage. In
fair weather the poet wandered abroad, enjoying the fragrance of sweet
pasture land, and the warmth of glad sunlight he might not behold. And
anon, seated in a high-backed chair without his door, his straight pale
face full of repose and dignity, his light brown hair falling in curls
upon his shoulders, his large grey eyes, "clear to outward view of
blemish or of spot," fixed on vacancy, his figure clad in coarse
cloth--he received those who sought his society.

In their absence the poet spent solitary hours conning over as many
lines of the great poem as his memory could store, until one of his
friends arrived, and relieved him by taking the staazas down. Frequently
his nephew, Edward Philips, performed this task for him. To him Milton
was in the habit of showing his work as it advanced, and Philips
states he found it frequently required correction in orthography and
punctuation, by reason of the various hands which had written it. As
summer advanced, he was no longer favoured by a sight of the poem;
inquiring the reason of which, Milton told him "his vein never happily
flowed but from the autumnal equinox to the vernal; and that whatever
he attempted at other times was never to his satisfaction, though he
courted his fancy never so much."

In the year 1665 "Paradise Lost" was completed, but no steps were taken
towards its publication, as the author, in company with his neighbours,
fled from the dreaded plague. The following year the citizens were
harassed by losses sustained from the great fire, so that Milton did not
seek to dispose of his poem until 1667; when, on the 27th of April, it
was sold to Samuel Simmons, a publisher residing in Aldersgate Street.
The agreement entered into stated Milton should receive an immediate
payment of five pounds, with the stipulation that he should be given an
equal sum on sale of thirteen hundred copies of the first edition, and
five pounds on disposal of the same number of the second edition, and
yet five pounds more after another such sale of the third edition.
Each edition was to number fifteen hundred books. Two years after the
publication of "Paradise Lost," its author received the second payment
of five pounds; five years later a third payment was made him; before
the fourth fell due his life had been set free from care.

From the first his poem had come in contact with a few receptive minds,
and borne the blessed fruit of appreciation. Richardson recounts that
Sir John Denham, a poet and man of culture, one morning brought a
sheet of the great epic fresh from the press to his friend Sir George
Hungerford. "Why, what have you there?" asked the latter. "Part of the
noblest poem that was ever written in any, language or in any age," said
Sir John, as he laid the pages before him. And a few weeks later my Lord
Dorset, looking over a bookstall in Little Britain, found a copy of this
work, which he opened carelessly at first, until he met some passages
which struck him with surprise and filled him with admiration: observing
which the honest bookseller besought him to speak in favour of the poem,
for it lay upon his hands like so much waste-paper. My lord bought a
copy, carried it home, read and sent it to Dryden, who, in due time
returning the volume, expressed his opinion of its merits in flattering
terms. "The author," said he, "cuts us all out--aye, even the ancients

Such instances as these were, however, few in number. That the work did
not meet with wider appreciation and quicker sale is not surprising
when it is called to mind that from 1623 to 1664 but two editions of
Shakespeare's works, comprising in all about one thousand copies, had
been printed. In an age when learning was by no means universal, and
polite reading uncommon, it was indeed a scource of congratulation,
rather than a topic for commiseration, that the work of a republican had
in two years reached a sale of thirteen hundred copies.

Before a third edition was required his fame had spread. The house in
which he had been born, in Bread Street, was shown with pride to foreign
visitors; parents sent their sons to read to him, that they might reap
the benefit of his remarks. The latter testimony to his genius was a
tribute the blind poet appreciated. But it happened there were times
and seasons when these obliging youths were not at hand, or when it was
inconvenient for him to receive them. On such occasions he demanded that
his daughters should read him the books he required, though these
were frequently written in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Italian, and
Spanish--languages of which they were wholly ignorant. The torment this
inflicted on those striving to pronounce unaccustomed words which had
no meaning to their ears, and the torture endured by him, may readily be
conceived. Expressions of complaint on the one side, and of pain on
the other, continually interrupted the readings, which were eventually
wholly abandoned; the poet sending his children, whose education was
so limited that they were unable to write, to learn "ingenious sorts
of manufacture proper for women, particularly embroideries in gold and

When in 1665 Milton had shown his poem to Elwood, the good quaker
observed, "Thou hast said a great deal upon Paradise Lost: what hast
thou to say upon Paradise Found?" This question resting in the poet's
mind, in due time produced fruit; for no sooner had his first poem been
published than he set about composing the latter, which, under the name
of "Paradise Regained," was given to the world in 1670 "This," said he
to Elwood, "is owing to you; for you put it into my head by the question
which you put to me, which otherwise I had not thought of." This poem,
he believed, had merits far superior to those of "Paradise Lost," which
he could not bear to hear praised in preference to "Paradise Regained."
In the same year he published "Samson Agonistes," and two years later
a treatise on "Logic," and another on "True Religion, Heresy, Schism,
Toleration, and the Best Methods to Prevent the Growth of Popery." In
this, the mind which had soared to heaven and descended to hell in its
boundless flight, argues that catholics should not be allowed the
right of public or private worship. In the last year of his life he
republished his "Juvenile Poems," together with "Familiar Epistles in

He had now reached his sixty-sixth year. His life had been saddened by
blindness, his health enfeebled by illness, his domesticity troubled by
his first marriage and his last, his desires disappointed by the result
of political events. So that when, on the 10th of November, 1674, death
summoned him, he departed without regret.

Amongst those who visited Milton was John Dryden, whom the author of
"Paradise Lost" regarded as "a good rhymester, but no poet," an opinion
with which posterity has not held. At the restoration, John Dryden was
in his twenty-ninth year. The son of Sir Erasmus Dryden, Baronet, of
Canons Ashby, he enjoyed an income of two hundred pounds a year, a sum
then considered sufficient to defray the expenses of a young man of good
breeding. He had passed through Westminster School, taken a degree at
Cambridge, written a eulogistic stanza on the death of Cromwell, and a
joyous poem on the happy restoration of the merry monarch.

Three years after the arrival of his majesty, Dryden's comedy entitled
"The Wild Gallant" was produced, this being the first of twenty-eight
plays which followed. In the year 1668 he had the honour to succeed Sir
William Davenant as poet laureate, the salary attached to which office
was one hundred pounds a year and a tierce of wine. His dignity was
moreover enhanced, though his happiness was by no means increased, by
his marriage with the Lady Elizabeth Howard, daughter of the Earl of
Berkshire. For my lady's temper sorely marred the poet's peace, and
left such impressions upon his mind, that to the end of his days his
invectives against the bonds of matrimony were bitter and deep. In
justice it must be mentioned the Lady Elizabeth's mental condition
was supposed to be unsettled; a conjecture which was proved true by a
madness which befell her, subsequent to her husband's death.

Dryden was now a well known figure in town, consorting with men of
the highest quality and parts, and gossiping with wits and players
who frequented Will's coffee-house. Here, indeed, a special chair was
appropriated to his use; which being placed by the fire in winter, and
on the balcony in summer, he was pleased to designate as his winter and
his summer seat. At Will's he was wont to hold forth on the ingenuity of
his plays, the perfection of his poems, and the truth of astrology. It
was whilst leaving this coffee house one night a memorable occurrence
befell the poet, of which more anon.

It happened at one time the brilliant, poetical, and mercurial Earl of
Rochester extended his favour and friendship towards Dryden, gratified
by which, the poet had, after the manner of those days, dedicated a play
to him, "Marriage a la Mode." This favour his lordship received with
graciousness, and no doubt repaid with liberality. After a while,
Dryden, led by choice or interest, sought a new patron in the person of
the Earl of Mulgrave. For this nobleman Rochester had long entertained
a bitter animosity, which had arisen from rivalry, and had been
intensified from the fact that Rochester, refusing to fight him, had
been branded as a coward. Not daring to attack the peer, Rochester
resolved to avenge himself upon the poet. In order to effect his
humiliation, the earl at once bestowed his favour on Elkanah Settle, a
playwright and poet of mean abilities. He had originally been master
of a puppet-show, had written verses to order for city pageants, and
produced a tragedy in heroic verse, entitled "Cambyses, King of Persia."

His patron being at this time in favour with the king, introduced Settle
to the notice of the court, and induced the courtiers to play his second
tragedy, "The Empress of Morocco," at Whitehall, before their majesties.
This honour, which Dryden, though poet laureate, had never received,
gave Elkanah Settle unmerited notoriety; the benefit of which was
apparent by the applause his tragedy received when subsequently produced
at the Duke's Theatre in Dorset Gardens. Nor did the honour and profit
which "The Empress of Morocco" brought him end here; it was published by
William Cademan, and had the distinction of being the first English play
ever illustrated, or sold for the price of two shillings. It was scarce
to be expected, in an age when men ventilated their merest grievances by
the publication of pamphlets, Dryden could refrain from pointing out to
the public the mistake into which they had fallen by honouring this man.
Nor was he singular in his feelings of animosity. The poets Shadwell and
Crowne, believing themselves ignored and neglected, whilst their rival
was enriched and exalted, joined Dryden in writing a merciless criticism
upon Settle's tragedy. This was entitled "The Empress of Morocco,
or some few erratas to be printed instead of the sculptures
[Illustrations.], with the second edition of the play." In this Settle
was described as "an animal of a most deplored intellect, without
reading and understanding;" whilst his play was characterized as "a tale
told by an idiot, full of noise and fury signifying nothing." To these
remarks and others of like quality, Settle replied in the same strain,
so that the quarrel diverted the town and even disturbed the quiet of
the universities. Time did ample justice to both men; lowering Settle
to play the part of a dragon in a booth at Bartholomew Fair, and
consecrating Dryden to immortality.

Before the clamour resulting from this dispute had ended, Rochester,
fickle and eccentric, grew weary of his PROTEGE and consequently
abandoned him. He had not, however, tired of humiliating the laureate,
and to mortify him the more, introduced a new poet at court, This
was John Crowne, a man then little known to the town, and now best
remembered as author of "Sir Courtly Nice," a comedy of wit and
entertainment. So well did he succeed in obtaining favour at court,
through Rochester's influence, that the queen ordered him to write a
masque. This command he immediately obeyed, producing "Calisto, or the
Chaste Nymph," which was acted at Whitehall by the Duke of York's fair
daughters, the Princesses Mary and Anne, together with many gracious
ladies and noble lords. Dryden, probably the better to hide the
mortification he felt at seeing his office as laureate unceremoniously
usurped, offered to write an epilogue for the occasion; but this service
was, through Rochester's interference, rejected. The masque proved a
brilliant success; "the dancing, singing, and music, which were all in
the highest perfection, and the graceful action, incomparable beauty,
and splendid habits of those ladies who accompanied them, afforded the
spectators extraordinary delight." "Calisto" was therefore performed
thirty times.

The author's gratitude for his lordship's patronage was only equalled
by his disappointment upon its hasty withdrawal. Growing weary of him,
Rochester found a more worthy object for his favour in Thomas Otway, a
poet rich in all the miseries which afflicted genius in those days. Son
of the rector of Woolbeding, pupil at Winchester School, and commoner
of Christchurch, Cambridge, he had on his arrival in town vainly sought
employment as an actor, and barely earned bread as a play-writer. Before
he became a PROTEGE of my Lord Rochester he had written "Alcibiades," a
tragedy, he being then, in 1665, in his twenty-fifth year. His next play
was "Don Carlos, Prince of Spain," which, through the earl's influence,
gained great success. In the preface to this tragedy he acknowledges his
unspeakable obligations to my lord, who he says made it his business to
establish "Don Carlos" in the good opinion of the king and of his royal
highness the Duke of York. Unwarned by the fate of his predecessors,
and heedless of the fickleness of his patron, he basked in hope in the
present, mercifully unconscious of the cruel death by starvation which
awaited him in the future. Alas! Rochester not only forsook him, but
loaded him with satire in a poem entitled "Session of the Poets."

In verses which he wrote soon after, entitled "An Allusion to the Tenth
Satire," Rochester likewise attacked Dryden; who, in the preface of his
"All for Love," replied in like manner. Then there appeared an "Essay on
Satire," which ridiculed the king, dealt severely with his mistresses,
said uncivil things of the courtiers in general, and of my Lord
Rochester in particular. The noble earl was indeed described as being
"lewd in every limb," affected in his wit, mean in his actions, and
cowardly in his disposition. Now, though this was conceived and brought
forth by my Lord Mulgrave, Rochester suspected Dryden of its authorship,
and resolved to punish him forthwith. Accordingly on the night of the
18th of December, 1679, when Dryden was passing through Rose Street,
Covent Garden, on his homeward way from Will's Coffee House, he was
waylaid by some ruffians, and, before he could draw his sword, promptly
surrounded and severely beaten.

This occurrence caused considerable sensation throughout the town, and
though surmises arose in many minds as to who had hired the bravoes, it
was found impossible to prove them. In hope of gaining some clue to the
instigator of the attack, Dryden caused the following advertisement to
consecutive days: "Whereas John Dryden, Esq., was on Monday, the 18th
instant, at night, barbarously assaulted and wounded in Rose Street, in
Covent Garden, by divers men unknown; if any person shall make discovery
of the said offenders to the said Mr. Dryden, or to any justice of the
peace, he shall not only receive fifty pounds, which is deposited in the
hands of Mr. Blanchard Goldsmith, next door to Temple Bar, for the said
purpose; but if he be a principal or an accessory in the said fact, his
majesty is graciously pleased to promise him his pardon for the same."

Dryden sought no opportunity for revenge; for which restraint, outliving
Rochester, and having a noble mind and generous disposition, he was no
doubt glad at heart. Not only did he survive the earl, but likewise the
king. To the company and conversation of that gracious sovereign the
poet was frequently admitted, a privilege which resulted in satisfaction
and pleasure to both. One pleasant day towards the end of his majesty's
reign, whilst they walked in the Mall, Charles said to him, "If I were
a poet, and indeed I think I am poor enough to be one, I would write a
satire on sedition." Taking this hint, Dryden speedily set himself to
work, and brought a poem on such a subject to his royal master, who
rewarded him with a hundred broad pieces.

Amongst Dryden's friends was the excellent and ingenious Abraham Cowley,
whose youth had given the promise of distinction his manhood fulfilled.
It is related that when quite a lad, he found in the window recess of
his mother's apartment a copy of Spencer's "Faerie Queene." Opening the
book, he read it with delight, and his receptive mind reflecting the
poet's fire, he resolved likewise to exercise the art of poesy. In 1628,
when at the age of ten, he wrote "The Tragic History of Pyramus and
Thisbe;" five years later he published a volume of poems; and whilst yet
a schoolboy wrote his pastoral comedy, "Love's Riddle."

When at St. John's College, Oxford, he gave proof of his loyalty by
writing a poem entitled the "Puritan and the Papist," which gained him
the friendship of courtiers. On the Queen of Charles I. taking refuge in
France, he soon followed her, and becoming secretary to the Earl of St.
Albans, conducted the correspondence between her majesty and the king,
ciphering and deciphering their letters, and such as were sent or
received by those immediately concerned in the cause of royalty. In this
situation he remained until four years previous to the restoration, when
he was sent into England for the purpose of observing the condition of
the nation, and reporting the same. Scarce had he set foot in London
when he was seized, examined, and only liberated on a friend offering
bail for him to the amount of one thousand pounds.

The better to disguise the object of his visit, and lull suspicions of
republicans, he took out the degree of Doctor of Physic at Oxford; after
which he retired into Kent, where he devoted a great portion of his
time to the study of botany and the composition of poetry. On Cromwell's
death he hastened to France, and remained there until the king's return;
which he celebrated by a song of triumph. Like hundreds of others who
had served Charles in his exile, he looked forward to gratitude and
reward, but met disappointment and neglect. Amongst the numerous places
and employments the change of government opened in court and state, not
one was offered the loyal poet.

Nay, his hardships did not end here; for having, in 1663, produced his
merry comedy, "Cutter of Coleman Street," it was treated with severity
as a censure upon the king. Feeling over-nervous to witness the
result of its first representation, the poet absented himself from the
playhouse; but thither his friends Dryden and Sprat sped, hoping they
might be able to bear him tidings of its triumph. When they returned to
him at night and told him of its fate, "he received the news of its
ill success," says Sprat, "not with so much firmness as might have been
expected from so great a man." Of all intent to satirize the king he was
entirely innocent--a fact he set before the public in the preface to his
play on its publication. Having, he argues, followed the fallen fortunes
of the royal family so long, it was unlikely he would select the time of
their restoration to quarrel with them.

Feeling his grievances acutely, he now published a poem called "The
Complaint," which met with but little success; whereon, depressed by
ill-fortune and disgusted by ingratitude, he sought consolation in the
peace of a country life. Through the influence of his old friend, Lord
St. Albans, and the Duke of Buckingham, he obtained a lease of the
queen's lands at Chertsey, which produced him an income of about three
hundred pounds a year--a sum sufficient for his few wants and moderate
desires. He resided here but two years, when he died, on the 28th of
July, 1667. Milton, on hearing of his death, was troubled. The three
greatest English poets, he declared, were Spenser, Shakespeare, and

The ungrateful neglect with which he was treated in life was sought to
be atoned for by useless honours paid him after death. His remains were
first conveyed to Wallingford House, then a residence of the Duke
of Buckingham, from whence they were carried in a coach drawn by six
horses, and followed by all the men of letters and wits of the town,
divers stately bishops, courtiers, and men of quality, whose carriages
exceeded one hundred in number, to Westminster Abbey. Here the Poet was
laid at rest beside Geoffrey Chaucer, and not far removed from gentle
Spenser, whose words had first inspired his happy muse.

The literary wealth of this reign was furthermore enhanced by the genius
of Butler, the inimitable author of "Hudibras," concerning whom little
is known, save that he was born in 1612, and spent his life in poverty.
He passed some years as clerk to a justice of the peace; he also served
a great man's steward, and acted as secretary to Sir Samuel Luke, one
of Cromwell's officers. With those of the commonwealth he held no part;
that he was a royalist at heart his great satire indicates. The first
part of this was published in the third year of the restoration, and was
introduced to the notice of his majesty by my Lord Dorset. So delighted
was the monarch by its wit that its lines were continually on his lips,
an example speedily followed by the courtiers. It was considered
certain a man possessing such brilliant genius and loyal nature would be
rewarded with place or pension; but neither boon was bestowed upon him.
Resting his hopes on future achievements, the second part of "Hudibras"
appeared in 1664; but again his recompense was delayed. Clarendon made
him promises of valuable employments, which were never fulfilled; and to
soothe his disappointment the king sent him a present of three hundred

Indignant at the neglect from which he suffered, his friend Wycherley
spoke to the Duke of Buckingham on his behalf, saying it was a shame to
the court a man of Butler's parts should be allowed to suffer want. With
this his grace readily agreed, and promised to use his influence towards
remedying the poet's ill-fortune; but time went by, and his condition
remained unaltered. Whereon Wycherley conceived the idea of bringing
Butler and the duke together, that the latter might the more certainly
remember him. He therefore succeeded in making his grace name an
hour and place in which they might meet. So it came to pass they were
together one day at the Roebuck Tavern; but scarce had Buckingham opened
his lips when a pimp of his acquaintance--"the creature was likewise
a knight"--passed by with a couple of ladies. To a man of Buckingham's
character the temptation was too seductive to be neglected; accordingly,
he darted after those who allured him, leaving the needy poet, whom he
saw no more. Butler lived until 1680, dying in poverty. Longueville,
having in vain solicited a subscription to defray the expenses of the
poet's burial in Westminster Abbey, laid him to rest in the churchyard
of Covent Garden.

Wycherley, the friend of Butler, though a child of the Muses, was
superior to poverty. He was born in the year of grace 1640, and early
in life sent for his better education into France. Returning to England
soon after the king had come unto his own, young Wycherley entered
Queen's College, Oxford, from whence he departed without obtaining a
degree. He then betook himself to town, and became a law student. The
Temple, however, had less attraction for him than the playhouse. Indeed,
before leaving Oxford he had, written a couple of comedies--to wit,
"Love in a Wood," and "The Gentleman Dancing Master," a fact
entitling him to be considered a man of parts. Not satisfied with this
distinction, he soon developed tastes for pleasures of the town, and
became a man of fashion. His wit illuminated choice gatherings of
congenial spirits at coffee-houses; his epigrams were repeated by boon
companions in the precincts of the court.

In the year 1672 his comedy "Love in a Wood" was produced. It
immediately gained universal favour, and, moreover, speedily attracted
the attention of his majesty's mistress, the Duchess of Cleveland.
Wycherley was a man well to look upon: her grace was a lady eager
for adventure. Desiring his acquaintance, and impatient of delay, she
introduced herself to his notice in a manner eminently characteristic
of the age. It happened when driving one day through Pall Mall, she
encountered Wycherley riding in his coach in an opposite direction.
Thrusting her head out of the window of her vehicle, she saluted the
author with a title unknown to the conversations of polite society in
the present day.

The fashionable playwright understanding the motive which prompted her
remark, hastily ordered his coach to follow hers; and, overtaking her,
uncovered and began a speech becoming so ardent a gallant.

"Madam," said he, "you have been pleased to bestow a title on me
which belongs only to the fortunate. Will your ladyship be at the play

"Well," replied her grace, well pleased at this beginning, "what if I am

"Why, then," answered he, "I will be there to wait on your ladyship,
though I disappoint a fine woman who has made me an assignation."

"So," said this frail daughter of Eve, greedily swallowing his flattery,
"you are sure to disappoint a woman who has favoured you for one who has

"Yes," quoth he, readily enough, "if the one who has not favoured me is
the finer woman of the two. But he who can be constant to your ladyship
till he can find a finer, is sure to die your captive."

That night her grace sat in the front row of the king's box at Drury
Lane playhouse, and sure enough there was handsome Will Wycherley
sitting in the pit underneath. The gentleman cast his eyes upwards
and sighed; the lady looked down and played with her fan; after which
preliminaries they fell into conversation which both found far more
interesting than the comedy then being enacted before their eyes. This
was the beginning of an intimacy concerning which the court made merry,
and of which the town spoke scandal. My lady disguised herself as a
country wench, and visited his chambers, Mr. Wycherley dedicated his
play, "Love in a Wood," to her in elegant phraseology, He was of opinion
that she stood as little in need of flattery as her beauty did of art;
he was anxious to let the world know he was the greatest admirer she
had; and he was desirous of returning her his grateful acknowledgment
for the favours he had received from her.

The interest of this romance was presently intensified by the
introduction of a rival in the person of the Duke of Buckingham.
Probably from fear an intrigue with such a prominent figure would, if
indulged in, quickly become known to the king, she refused to encourage
Buckingham's love. His grace was not only a passionate lover, but
likewise a revengeful man; accordingly, he resolved to punish my lady
for her lack of good taste. It therefore became his habit to speak of
her intrigues before the court, and to name the individuals who received
her favours. Now Wycherley, being amongst these, grew fearful his amour
with the duchess should become known to the king, from whom at this time
he expected an appointment. Accordingly, he besought his good friends,
Lord Rochester and Sir Charles Sedley, to remonstrate on his behalf with
the duke. These gentlemen undertook that kindly office, and in order
to make the rivals acquainted, besought his grace to sup with the
playwright. The duke complying with their request, met Wycherley in a
friendly spirit, and soon professed himself delighted with his wit; nay,
before the feast was over he drank his health in a bumper of red wine,
and declared himself Mr. Wycherley's very good friend and faithful
servant henceforth.

Moreover, he was as good as his word; for, being master of the horse, he
soon after appointed Wycherley an equerry, and subsequently gave him a
commission as captain of a regiment of which he was colonel. Nor did the
duke's services to the dramatist end here; for when occasion offered he
introduced him to the merry monarch, and so pleased was the king
with the author's conversational powers that he admitted him to his
friendship. His majesty's regard for Wycherley gradually ripened, and
once when he lay ill of fever at his lodgings in Bow Street, Covent
Garden, the merry monarch visited him, cheered him with words of
kindness, and promised he would send him to Montpelier when he was well
enough to travel. For this good purpose Charles sent him five hundred
pounds, and Wycherley spent the winter of 1679 abroad.

Previous to this date he had written, besides his first comedy, three
others which had been received with great favour by the town, viz., "The
Gentleman Dancing Master," "The Country Wife," and "The Plain Dealer."
Soon after his return to England the crisis of his life arrived, and he
married. His introduction to the lady whom fate ordained to become his
wife is not the least singular episode in a remarkable biography. Being
at Tunbridge Wells, then a place of fashion and liberty, he was one
day walking with a friend named Fairbeard. And it happened as they were
passing a book-stall they overheard a gentlewoman inquire for the "Plain

"Madam," says Mr. Fairbeard, uncovering, "since you are for the 'Plain
Dealer,' there he is for you;" whereon he led Wycherley towards her.

"This lady," says that gentleman, making her a profound bow, "can bear
plain speaking; for she appears to be so accomplished, that what would
be compliment said to others, spoken to her would be plain dealing."

"No truly, sir," replied the lady; "I am not without my faults, like
the rest of my sex; and yet, notwithstanding all my faults, I love
plain dealing, and never am more fond of it than when it points out my

"Then, madam," said Mr. Fairbeard, "you and the plain dealer seem
designed by heaven for each other."

These pretty speeches having been delivered and received with every mark
of civility, Mr. Wycherley made his exit with the lady, who was none
other than the Countess of Drogheda, a young widow gifted with beauty
and endowed by fortune. Day by day he waited on her at her lodging,
accompanied her in her walks, and attended her to the assemblies.
Finally, when she returned to town he married her. It is sad yet true
the union did not result in perfect happiness. Mr. Wycherley had a
reputation for gallantry, the Countess of Drogheda was the victim of
suspicion. Knowing jealousy is beget by love, and mindful of sacrifices
she had made in marrying him, Wycherley behaved towards her with much
kindness. In compliance with her wishes he desisted visiting the court,
a place she probably knew from experience was rife with temptation; and
moreover when he cracked a bottle of wine with convivial friends at the
Cock Tavern, opposite his lodgings in Bow Street, he, for the greater
satisfaction of his wife, would leave the windows open of the room in
which he sat, that she might from the vantage ground of her home see
there were no hussies in the company.

As proof of her love, she, when dying, settled her fortune upon him; but
unhappily his just right was disputed by her family. The case therefore
went into litigation, for the expenses of which, together with other
debts, Wycherley was cast into prison. Here the brilliant wit, clever
writer, and boon companion, was allowed to remain seven long years. When
released from this vile bondage, another king than the merry monarch
occupied the English throne.

The name of Andrew Marvel is inseparably connected with this period. He
was born in the year 1620 in the town of Kingston-upon-Hull; his
father being a clever school-master, worthy minister, and "an excellent
preacher, who never broached what he had never brewed, but that which he
had studied some compitent time before." At the age of fifteen, Andrew
Marvell was sent to Trinity College, Cambridge. But he had not long been
there when he withdrew himself, lured, as some authorities state, by
wiles of the wicked Jesuits; repulsed, as others say, by severities of
the head of his college. Leaving the university, he set out for London,
where his father, who hastened thither in search of him, found him
examining some old volumes on a book-stall. He was prevailed to return
to his college, where, in 1638, he took his degree as bachelor of arts.

On the completion of his studies and death of his father, he travelled
through Holland, France, and Italy. Whilst abroad he began to produce
those satirical verses such as were destined to render him famous.
One of his earliest efforts in this direction was aimed at the Abbe de
Maniban, a learned ecclesiastic, whose chief fault in Marvell's eyes lay
in the fact of his professing to judge characters from handwriting.

Whilst in Italy, Andrew Marvell met John Milton, and they having many
tastes and convictions in common, became fast friends. In 1653, the
former returned to England, and for some time acted as tutor to Mistress
Fairfax; he being an excellent scholar, and a great master of the Latin
tongue. He now led a peaceful and obscure life until 1657. In that
year, Milton, "laying aside," as he wrote, "those jealousies, and that
emulation which mine own condition might suggest to me," introduced him
to Bradshaw; soon after which he was made assistant-secretary to Milton,
who was then in the service of Cromwell.

He had not been long engaged in this capacity, when the usurper died;
and Marvell's occupation being gone, the goodly burgesses of the town
of Hull, who loved him well, elected him as their representative in
parliament, for which service, in accordance with a custom of the time,
he was paid. The salary, it is true, was not large, amounting to two
shillings a day for borough members; yet when kindly feeling and honest
satisfaction mutually existed between elector and representative, as in
Marvell's case, the wage was at times supplemented by such acceptable
additions as home-cured pork and home-brewed ale, "We must first give
you thanks," wrote Marvell on one occasion to his constituents, on the
receipt of a cask of beer, "for the kind present you have pleased to
send us, which will give occasion to us to remember you often; but the
quantity is so great, that it might make sober men forgetful."

He now, in the warfare of political life, made free use of his keen wit
and bitter sarcasm as serviceable weapons. These were chiefly employed
in exposing measures he considered calculated to ruin the country,
though they might gratify the king. However, he had no hatred of
monarchy, but would occasionally divert Charles by the sharpness of his
satire and brilliancy of his wit. Considering how valuable these would
be if employed in service of the court, Charles resolved to tempt
Marvell's integrity. For this purpose the Lord Treasurer Danby sought
and found him in his chamber, situated in the second floor of a mean
house standing in a court off the Strand. Groping his way up the dark
and narrow staircase of the domicile, the great minister stumbled, and
falling against a door, was precipitated into Marvell's apartment, head
foremost. Surprised at his appearance, the satirist asked my Lord Danby
if he had not mistaken his way. "No," said the courtier with a bow, "not
since I have found Mr. Marvell." He then proceeded to tell him that the
king, being impressed by a high sense of his abilities, was desirous of
serving him. Apprehending what services were expected in return, Marvell
answered that he who accepted favours from the court was bound to vote
in its interests. "Nay," said my lord, "his majesty but desires to
know if there is any place at court you would accept." On which Marvell
replied he could receive nothing with honour, for either he must treat
the king with ingratitude by refusing compliance with court measures,
or be a traitor to his country by yielding to them. The only favour he
therefore begged was, that his majesty would esteem him a loyal subject;
the truer to his interests in refusing his offers than he would be
by accepting them. It is stated that Lord Danby, surprised at so much
purity in an age of corruption, furthermore tempted him with a bag of
gold, which Marvell obstinately refused to accept.

He died suddenly in the year 1678, leaving behind him a reputation for
humour and satire which has rarely been excelled.

Besides these poets and dramatists, there were other great men, who
as prose writers, helped to render the literary history of the period
remarkable for its brilliancy. Amongst these were Lord Clarendon, High
Chancellor of England, concerning whom much has already been said; and
Thomas Hobbs of Malmesbury, better known as author of "The History
of the Causes of the Civil War," and of "Human Nature," than as a
translator of the Iliad and the Odyssey. Dr. Gilbert Burnet, author of
"The History of his Own Times;" and Dr. Ralph Cudworth, author of "The
True Intellectual System of the Universe," were likewise men of note.
But one whose name is far more familiar than any writer of his time is
John Bunyan, author of "The Pilgrim's Progress."

He was the son of a tinker, and was born within a mile of Bedford town
in the year 1628. He imbibed at an early age the spirit of Puritanism,
fought in the civil wars, took to himself a wife, and turned preacher.
Six months after the merry monarch landed, Bunyan was flung into Bedford
gaol, where, rather than refrain from puritanical discourses, in the
utterance of which he believed himself divinely inspired, he remained,
with some short intervals of liberty, for twelve years. When offered
freedom at the price of silence, he replied, "If you let me out to-day,
I will preach to-morrow." Nay, even in his confinement he delivered
sermons to his fellow-prisoners; and presently he commenced to write.
His convictions leading him to attack the liturgy of the Church of
England, and the religion of the Quakers, his productions became popular
amongst dissenters. At length, by an act annulling the penal statutes
against Protestant Nonconformists and Roman Catholics, passed in 1671,
he was liberated. When he left prison he carried with him a portion of
his "Pilgrim's Progress," which was soon after completed and published,
though at what date remains uncertain. In 1678 a second edition was
printed, and such was the growth of its popularity, that six editions
were issued within the following four years.

Now he became famous, his lot was far different from what it had been;
his sermons were heard by eager audiences, his counsel was sought
by those in trouble, his prayers were regarded as the utterances of
inspiration. Once a year he rode, attended by vast crowds, from Bedford
Town to London City, that he might preach to those burdened by sin; and
from the capital he made a circuit of the country, where he was hailed
as a prophet. His life extended beyond the reign of King Charles; his
influence lasted till his death.


  Time's flight leaves the king unchanged.--The Rye House
  conspiracy.--Profligacy of the court.--The three duchesses.--The king
  is taken ill.--The capital in consternation.--Dr. Ken questions his
  majesty.--A Benedictine monk sent for.--Charles professes catholicity
  and receives the Sacraments.--Farewell to all.--His last night on
  earth.--Daybreak and death.--He rests in peace.

His majesty's habits changed but little with the flight of time, To the
end of his reign the court continued brilliant and profligate. Wits,
courtezans, and adventurers crowded the royal drawing-rooms, and
conversed without restraint; the monarch pursued his pleasures with
unsatiated zest, taking to himself two new mistresses, Lady Shannon
and Catherine Peg, who respectively bore him a daughter and a son, duly
created Countess of Yarmouth and Earl of Plymouth. For a while, indeed,
a shadow fell upon the life of the merry monarch, when, in 1683, he was
roused to a sense of danger by discovery of the Rye House conspiracy.

This foul plot, entered into by the Whigs on failure of the Exclusion
Bill, had for its object the murder of his majesty and of the Duke of
York. Before arriving at maturity its existence and intentions were
revealed by one of the conspirators, when William Lord Russell, the Earl
of Essex, and Algernon Sidney, second son of the Earl of Leicester, were
arrested and charged with high treason. My Lord Essex died in the Tower
by his own hand; Lord Russell was condemned on testimony of one witness,
and duly executed; as was likewise Algernon Sidney, whose writings on
Republicanism were used as evidence against him. On the revelation
of this wicked scheme the country became wildly excited, and the king
grievously afflicted. A melancholy seized upon his majesty, who stirred
not abroad without double guards; and the private doors of Whitehall and
avenues of the park were closed.

From this condition, however, he gradually recovered, and resumed his
usual habits. Accordingly, we find him engaged in "luxurious dalliance
and prophaneness" with the Duchess of Mazarine, and visiting the Duchess
of Portsmouth betimes in her chamber, where that bold and voluptuous
woman, fresh risen from bed, sat in loose garments talking to the king
and his gallants, the while her maids combed her beautiful hair.

"I can never forget," says John Evelyn, writing on the 4th of February,
1685, "the inexpressible luxury and prophaneness, gaming, and all
dissoluteness, and as it were total forgetfullnesse of God (it being
Sunday evening), which this day se'nnight I was witnesse of, the king
sitting and toying with his concubines, Portsmouth, Cleveland, and
Mazarine, etc., a French boy singing love songs in that glorious
gallery, whilst about twenty of the greate courtiers and other dissolute
persons were at basset round a large table, a bank of at least two
thousand in gold before them, upon which two gentlemen who were with me
made reflexions with astonishment. Six days after was all in the dust."

For now the end of all things had come for Charles Stuart. It happened
on the morning of the 2nd of February, 1685, the day being Monday, the
king whilst in his bedroom was seized by an apoplectic fit, when crying
out, he fell back in his chair, and lay as one dead. Wildly alarmed, his
attendants summoned Dr. King, the physician in waiting, who immediately
bled him, and had him carried to bed. Then tidings spread throughout the
palace, that his majesty hovered betwixt life and death; which should
claim him no man might say. Whereon the Duke of York hastened to his
bedside, as did likewise the queen, her face blanched, her eyes wild
with terror. His majesty after some time recovering consciousness,
slowly realized his sad condition. Then he conceived a fear, the
stronger as begotten by conviction, that the sands of his life had run
their course. Throughout that day and the next he fainted frequently,
and showed symptoms of epilepsy. On Wednesday he was cupped and bled
in both jugulars; but on Thursday he was pronounced better, when the
physicians, anxious to welcome hope, spoke of his probable recovery.

But, alas, the same evening he grew restless, and signs of fever became
apparent. Jesuits' powders, then of great repute, were given him, but
with no good result. Complaining of a pain in his side, the doctors drew
twelve ounces more of blood from him. Exhaustion then set in; all hope
of life was over.

Meanwhile, the capital was in a state of consternation. Prayers for his
majesty's recovery were offered up in all churches throughout the city;
likewise in the royal chapels, where the clergy relieved each other
every quarter of an hour. Crowds gathered by day and night without the
palace gates, eager to learn the latest change in the king's condition
from those who passed to and fro. Inside Whitehall all was confusion.
Members of the Privy Council assembled in the room adjoining that where
the monarch lay; politicians and ambassadors conversed in whispers in
the disordered apartments; courtiers of all degrees flocked through the
corridors bearing signs of deep concern upon their countenances.

And amongst others who sought his majesty's presence was the Archbishop
of Canterbury, together with the Bishops of London, Durham, Ely, and
Bath and Wells; all being anxious to render spiritual services to the
king. Of these good men, Charles liked best Dr. Ken, Bishop of Bath and
Wells, having most faith in his honesty. For, when his lordship was a
prebend of Winchester, it had happened Charles passed through that city,
accompanied by Nell Gwynn, when Dr. Ken refused to receive her beneath
his roof even at the king's request. This proof of integrity so pleased
his majesty, that he gave him the next vacant bishopric by way of
reward. And now, his lordship being at hand, he read prayers for the
Sick from out the Common Prayer Book for his benefit, until coming to
that part where the dying are exhorted to make confession of their sins,
when the bishop paused and said such was not obligatory. He then asked
his majesty if he were sorry for the iniquities of his life? when the
sick man, whose heart was exceeding heavy, replied he was; whereon the
bishop pronounced absolution, and asked him if he would receive the
Sacrament. To this Charles made no reply, until the same question had
been repeated several times, when his majesty answered he would think of

The Duke of York, who stood by the while, noting the king's answer, and
aware of his tendencies towards Catholicism, bade those who had gathered
round stand aside; and then, bending over him, asked in a low tone if
he might send for a priest. A look of unspeakable relief came into the
king's face, and he answered, "For God's sake do, brother, and lose no
time." Then another thought flashing across his mind, he said, "But will
not this expose you to much danger?" James made answer, "Though it cost
me my life I will bring you a priest." He then hurried into the next
room, where, among all the courtiers, he could find no man he could
trust, save a foreigner, one Count Castelmachlor. Calling him aside, he
secretly despatched him in search of a priest.

Between seven and eight o'clock that evening, Father Huddleston, the
Benedictine friar who had aided the king's escape after the battle of
Worcester, awaited at the queen's back stairs the signal to appear in
his majesty's presence. The duke being made aware of the fact, announced
it to the king, who thereon ordered all in his room to withdraw; but
James, mindful that slander might afterwards charge him with killing
his brother, begged the Earl of Bath, the lord of the bedchamber then
in waiting, and the Earl of Feversham, captain of the guard, might
stay--saying to the king it was not fitting he should be unattended in
his weak condition. These gentlemen therefore remained. And no sooner
had all others departed than the monk was admitted by a private entrance
to the chamber. The king received him with great joy and satisfaction,
stating he was anxious to die in the communion of the catholic church,
and declaring he was sorry for the wrongs of his past life, which he yet
hoped might be pardoned through the merits of Christ.

He then, as we read in the Stuart Papers, "with exceeding compunction
and tenderness of heart," made an exact confession of his sins, after
which he repeated an act of contrition, and received absolution. He
next desired to have the other Sacraments of the church proper to his
condition administered to him: on which the Benedictine asked if he
desired to receive the Eucharist; eagerly he replied, "If I am worthy
pray fail not to let me have it." Then Father Huddleston, after some
exhortation, prepared to give him the Sacrament; when the dying man,
struggling to raise himself, exclaimed, "Let me meet my heavenly Lord in
a better posture than lying in bed." But the priest begged he would not
move, and then gave him the Communion, which he received with every sign
of fervour. And for some time he prayed earnestly, the monk and the duke
kneeling by the while, silence obtaining in the room. This was presently
broken by the sad and solemn tones of the priest's voice, reading
a commendation of the soul to its Maker: the which being ended, the
Benedictine, with tears in his eyes, took leave of his majesty. "Ah,"
said Charles, "you once saved my body; you have now saved my soul." Then
the monk gave him his benediction, and departed as quietly as he had

Then those waiting without were once more admitted to the room, when
Charles nerved himself to take a sad farewell of those around him. He
first publicly thanked his brother for the services and affection he
had ever rendered him through life, and extolled his obedience and
submission to his commands. Giving him his keys, he said he had left
him all he possessed, and prayed God would bless him with a happy and
prosperous reign. Finally, he recommended all his children to him by
name, excepting only the Duke of Monmouth then in Holland, and suffering
from the king's displeasure; and besought him to extend his kindness
towards the Duchesses of Portsmouth and Cleveland; "and do not," said
he, "let poor Nelly starve." Whilst these commands were addressed him,
the duke had flung himself on his knees by the bedside, and, bursting
into tears, kissed his brother's hand.

The queen, who had scarce left his majesty since the beginning of his
illness, was at this time absent, her love and grief not permitting her
to endure this afflicting scene. He spoke most tenderly of her; and
when presently she sent a message praying he would pardon her absence in
regard to her excessive grief, and forgive her withal if at any time she
had offended him, he replied, "Alas, poor woman! She beg my pardon?--I
beg hers, with all my heart." He next summoned his children to him, one
by one, and addressing them with words of advice, embraced them heartily
and blessed them fervently. And he being the Lord's anointed, the
bishops present besought he would give them his benediction likewise,
and all that were present, and in them the whole body of his subjects;
in compliance with which request he, with some difficulty, raised
himself, and all falling on their knees, he blessed them fervently. Then
they arose and departed.

Silence fell upon the palace; night wore slowly away. Charles tossed
upon his bed racked with pain, but no complaint escaped his lips. Those
who watched him in the semi-darkened room heard him ask God to accept
his sufferings in atonement for his sins. Then, speaking aloud, he
declared himself weary of life, and hoped soon to reach a better
world. Courteous to the last, he begged pardon for the trouble he gave,
inasmuch as he was long in dying. And anon he slumbered, and quickly
woke again in agony and prayed with zeal. Never had time moved with
slower passage for him; not hours, but weeks, seemed to elapse between
each stroke of the clock; and yet around him was darkness and tardy
night. But after much weary waiting, morning was at hand, the time-piece
struck six. "Draw the curtains," said the dying man, "that I may once
more see day." The grey light of a February dawn, scarce brightened
to eastward a cheerless sky; but he hailed this herald of sunrise with
infinite relief and terrible regret; relief that he had lived to see
another day; regret that no more morns should break for him.

His soul tore itself from his body with fierce struggles and bitter
pain. It was hard for him to die, but he composed himself to enter
eternity "with the piety becoming a Christian, and the resolution
becoming a king;" as his brother narrates. About ten o'clock on Friday
morning, February 6th, 1685, he found relief in unconsciousness; before
midday chimed he was dead. He had reached the fifty-fifth year of his
life, and the twenty-fifth year of his reign.

His illegitimate progeny was numerous, numbering fifteen, besides those
who died in infancy. These were the Duke of Monmouth and a daughter
married to William Sarsfield, children of Lucy Walters; the Dukes of
Southampton, Grafton, and Northumberland, the Countesses of Litchfield
and of Sussex, and a daughter Barbara, who became a nun, children of
the Duchess of Cleveland; the Duke of Richmond, son of the Duchess of
Portsmouth; the Duke of St. Albans, and a son James, children of Nell
Gwynn; Lady Derwentwater, daughter of Moll Davis; the Countess of
Yarmouth, daughter of Lady Shannon; and the Earl of Plymouth, son of
Catherine Peg.

For seven days the remains of the late king lay in state; on the eighth
they were placed in Westminster Abbey. The ceremony was of necessity
conducted in a semi-private manner for by reason of his majesty dying
in the Catholic religion, his brother considered it desirable the
ceremonies prescribed for the occasion by the English church should be
dispensed with. Therefore, in order to avoid disputes or scandal, the
king was laid in the tomb without ostentation. At night his remains were
carried from the painted chamber in Westminster sanctuary to the abbey.
The procession, headed by the servants of the nobility, of James II.,
and his queen, of the dowager queen, and of the late king, was followed
by the barons, bishops, and, peers according to their rank; the officers
of the household, and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Then came all
that was mortal of his late majesty, borne under a canopy of velvet,
supported by six gentlemen of the privy chamber, the pall being held
by six earls. Prince George of Denmark--subsequently husband of Queen
Anne--acted as chief mourner, attended by the Dukes of Somerset and
Beaufort, and sixteen earls. One of the kings of Arms carried the crown
and cushion, the train being closed by the king's band of gentlemen
pensioners, and the yeomen of the guard.

At the abbey entrance the dean and prebendaries, attended by torch
bearers, and followed by a surpliced choir, met the remains, and joined
the procession, the slow pacing figures of which seemed spectral in this
hour and place; then the sad cortege passed solemnly through the grey
old abbey, the choir chanting sorrowfully the while, the yellow flare
of torches marking the prevailing gloom. And being come to the chapel of
Henry VII., the body of the merry monarch was suffered there to rest in

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