Imagens da página

from the chamber, which all the since received money could not repay again; they being oftentimes forced to pay one man's interest with another's principal. And, though the fatal consequences were not known till of late, yet some observators about Guildhall discovered, that a late chamberlain, famous for his skill in military discipline, finding a cloud gathering at court, and that he was like to fall under the displeasure of a great man at Whitehall, gave private notice to some of his own party to draw out their money; and those who wanted that kind intelligence are the chief, if not the only sufferers now; for, you know, it is like the practice of bankers, who being blemished in their repute, their creditors coming in so thick upon them to call in their money, they are forced to stop their payments, in order to a composition.

Aurel. But, sir, I have been told, that those, who come a little nearer to our memories, tell us, they have observed a tall building upon Fish Street Hill, a ditch not far from Ludgate, and several conduits, to be built with mortar tempered with a sort of brackish water, known to the virtuosi, by the name of widows and orphans tears.

Franc. No, madam, that was not so, your judgment has been misinformed, those publick structures being wholly built at the city charge, by money raised by a tax upon coals, &c.

Aurel. I could have wished the wisdom of the city would have converted those funds into other uses. For the payment of the orphans would have eternised their memories more, than if they had erected monuments and mum-glasses in every street of the city.

Franc. For my part, though I would have the second day of September never to be forgotten, yet I have wondered what that monument was intended for, except by day for a land-mark for travellers, that lost their way upon Shooter's Hill; and it is pity that some invention is not found out to make a lanthorn of that flaming ball at top, for poor people cannot go to the price of Hemmings's new lights; and coals, they say, will be very dear this winter.

Aurel. 1 heard, sir, that a gentleman the other day, asking his friend, what that streight bodied thing might cost building, was told about eighteen thousand pounds. Did it so, says the other; I know a gentleman of my acquaintance has lent the city just such a sum, I think they had best make a mortgage of it to him for secu, rity.

Franc. And very good security too. Well, let the monument *tandtill a country fellow wants two-pence to see it, I care not; and what a pretty acount that ditch you speak of comes to, after so many thousand pounds expended in the building it, when the vaults and cellarage belonging to it, are now offered to be rented for one-hundred pounds per annum? A very pretty interest for so large a principal. Nay, I am told, that a certain conduit, near Foster-lane, has already gotten a rheumatism, for want of a night-cap. There have been some fine treats at Guildhall, and, supposing there wanted a little sum to buy shrimps and oysters for a dish of fish, I hope it was no such great crime for the caterer to put his hand into the orphans bag to purchase them.

Aurel. But, methinks, it, would have been civil, to hare invited us to eat part of the fish, when our money paid for the sauce.

Franc. No, no, there are meaner provisions suitable to our condition. Lord! Madam, I smile to think how we laugh till our hearts ake, and divert ourselves with our very misfortunes; as prosperity never exalted our thoughts, neither does adversity depress them. It is a practice of philosophy, which few attain to, and the little proficiency, I have made in it, is wholly owing to your generous and sprightly conversation. Aurel. Sir, I would return your compliment, but at present

I am out of stock. For my part, I know no divine nor human

law forbids innocent raillery; if the worst come to the worst, it is but reasonable losers should have leave to speak, though it is dear jesting at the rate of eight thousand pounds. But to be serious, is it not deplorable, that a gentleman, well born and educated, should, for want of that money of his which lies in the chamber of London, be exposed to all the indignities of fortune, accept of some mean office, to keep him from starving, list himself a common sentinel, to stave off his importunate creditors; or, perhaps, take the highway, and make his life as desperate as his fortune: Whereas, if he enjoyed what was justly hisown, he might make no contemptible figure in the world, where he now lies wind-bound for want of money.

Franc. To shew you the reverse of the medal. Is it not pity that a young gentle-woman, whom nature and education have made a finished piece, for want of those bags which lie sleeping in the chamber, betake herself to some mean employ, or at best to wait upon some finical lady, who, excepting her fortune, is not worthy to be named with her for accomplishments; or, at last, it may be she is married to some inferior fellow; or, if I durst be familiar with female virtue, perhaps, by reason of her poverty, exposed to the sollicitations of unlawful love, from which attempts the possesion of her fortune would secure her.

Aurel. I have wanted neither lawful nor unlawful offers; for the first, I am resolved never to disgrace my father's ashes by a sorry marriage; and from the latter Heaven will, I hope, defend me.

Franc. As despicable as my fortune may be at present, I am resolved not to be despicable in my own thoughts: And I will for once, Madam, make you so far my confessor, as to assure you, I loved a mistress, fair, rich, and virtuous; nor was I, pardon my vanity, treated with contempt, and we had certainly married, had not fortune, on my side, forbid the banes.

Aurel. But is there no hopes of recovering our fortunes?

Franc. Much such hopes as a dying patient has, when he sees his physician shake his head; but, however, we do not absolutely despair.

Aurel. I heard the city were about selling some of their lands, in order to raise a fund for the payment of their debts j did that come to any thing?

Franc. Sell their lands, they would as soon sell their char. ter. No, madam, all the hopes we have is from the present pat, liament.

Aurel. Pray, heaven, they prove not as tedious in their votes, as the last sessions.

Franc. The greater concerns of the nation, as the wars with France and Ireland, took up so much of their time, that smaller matters were put by, all private interest being to veil to the public good; but my prophetick hopes tell me, that the present parliament will have the matter under consideration, and I doubt not, but those worthy members of the city will be powerful sollicitors in our almost sinking cause.

Aurel. Then, I think, my stay here needless, for the judges pictures are able to afford me as much consolation as I am to expect from any here. I wait with some impatience the motions of the parliament, but must, sir, after my humble thanks to you for your extraordinary company, be so rude as to leave you.

Franc. Pray, madam, let me wait on you home.

Aurel. Sir, I am not often attended; but I should be uncivil to deny my hand to a person of such engaging civility.

Franc. Madam, your servant. You do me too much honour.






Licensed November, 29. J. Fraser, 1690. London, printed for Jeremiah Wilkins, near the Green-Dragon Tavern, in FleetStreet, 1690. Quarto, containing twenty pages.

XT is strange to see so many men dissatisfied at their majesties pro. ceedings, which have no other tendency than towards the common safety of their subjects, that is exposed to as great dangers as any country in Europe; and there are some sort of people who are so mad, as to wish success to the professed enemy of their country, out of a vain hope, that they should fare better than the rest of their neighbours, in case any publick alteration should happen in the government; nay, the madness of these men carry them yet further, as to believe themselves able to build their fortunes upon the ruin of their country. I doubt not, if their wishes did prevail, but these rery men would find themselves very much deceived in their expectations, and should have as much cause, as the rest of their fellow, subjects, to btmoan the common calamity of their inslaved country. We do not as yet understand the doctrine of bombs, and carcasses, contributions, and military executions. Our neighbours to their sorrows know, that there is something more in these words than a bare sound ; so many ruined countries, so many defaced cities, towns, and villages, are lasting monuments of the truth of it.

The murmuring of these people is to be attributed rather to their ignorance than their malice; they do not know the calamities that attend war. We have lived so long in peace, that the greatest part of us have no other knowledge of it, than by report; for, if we had partaked in the sufferings of the neighbouring nations, we should be more unanimous in contributing our assistance to stop that torrent which threatens the overflowing of all Christendom; if we were but sensible of the dreadful consequences which a foreign conquest brings along with it, we should think it a very good bargain to part with more than half what we have to save the whole, and to prevent that slavery which may overwhelm us and our posterity. In order to open our eyes that we may see our danger, and to unite us against the common enemy, in a cause wherein the interest of every individual person is so deeply concerned, I shall briefly give an account of those miseries which our forefathers felt under the Norman conquest, and afterwards what usage we are to expect from Lewis the Fourteenth, in case it should be our hard fortune to fall into his power, whose very mercies are cruelties; as it evidently appears by his practices as well towards his own subjects, as others, whom his treachery, or his arms, have reduced under his dominion. As to the Norman conquest, it will not be impertinent to shew something of the state of this kingdom before that mighty revolution happened, that we may the better see the greatness of the alteration which this foreign conquest produced in our ancestors days, and to that purpose I shall only consider the condition of affairs under the happy reign of that pious king Edward the Confessor. In his time the ancient laws of the kingdom flourished, the government was administered by an equal distribution of justice to the poor as well as rich, every man enjoyed his liberty and property with great security, peace and plenty appeared in all the parts of the kingdom; but Providence had decreed, that those halcyon-days should determine with the life of that king, who died without issue on the fourth of January, 1066. The kingdom should have descended to Edgar Atheling, being next of blood, and heir at law to the deceased king; but, Prince Edgar being young, the interest and greatness of Harold, eldest son of Good, win Earl of Kent, prevailed with the nobility to reject Edgar's pre. tensions to the crown, and to advance Harold to the throne, who took upon him the administration of the government; and all the no. bility swore allegiance to him.

Toftus, one of the Earl of Kent's sons, envying the prosperity and advancement of his brother, entered into a confederacy, with Harold king of Norway, to invade England both by sea and land. Harold king of England, having intelligence of their design, made all the preparations, he could, to withstand them. In the mean while, William Duke of Normandy, resolving to make his advantage of these distractions, raised a great army, and prepared a numerous fleet, which consisted of eight-hundred and ninety-six ships, in order to make a descent into England; he soon after hoisted sail, and his whole army landed at Pemsey, near Hastings in Sussex, on the twenty-eighth of September, 1066. Being landed, he caused all his ships to be set on fire, that his men might see, that there was no way left, but either to conquer, or to perish in the attempt. He intrenched himself, and afterwards marched, with a considerable body of men, to Hastings, where he built a fort. He published very strict orders, that none of his soldiers should plunder any of the inhabitants, and kept himself so quietly, for the space of fifteen days, as if there was no hostility intended at all. He pretended a title to the crown, by vertue of a gift from Edward the Confessor, as also by some agreement, or consent, made betwixt him and King Harold. But, whatsoever he pretended, it is certain, that he confessed, on his death-bed, that he possessed himself of the kingdom by no other title, than by conquest; and his deportment towards the English made it evident, that he never intended otherwise.

The king, having given battle to his brother, and the King of Norway's forces, and defeated them, but with the loss of a considerable number of men, received the news of the Duke of Normandy's landing in England. Being flushed with his former victory, he immediately directed his march towards Hastings, though his army had been much weakened and lessened in the late fight. His chief commanders would have dissuaded him from engaging with the enemy upon a sudden, lest the ill circumstances, his army was then in, might prove the occasion of his overthrow ; but all the arguments, they could use, were of no force to prevent his destiny.

The Duke of Normandy, being advertised of the king's approach, sent a monk to him, in the quality of his ambassador, with instructions to offer these propositions to him : That either he should resign the kingdom to the duke upon certain conditions, or hold it tributary of him; or else that they two, in the sight of both armies, should determine the matter by a single combate; and, in case of refusal, the duke offered to refer it to the see of Rome.

But King Harold, being resolutely bent to fight his enemy, whatever it should cost him, dismissed the ambassador, telling him, that God only should be the judge betwixt the duke and him. All thoughts of an accommodation being laid aside, the generals on both sides drew up their armies into order of battle; the king himself stood on foot by his standard, together with his two brothers, Girthe and Leofwine, to the end that, in the common danger, no man should entertain the least thought of saving himself by flight. Both armies, being engaged early in the morning, fought with various success all that day, till, towards the evening, the king was killed by the shot of an arrow, which pierced his brains; whereupon the Englishmen quitted the field, and left the duke an intire victory. In this battle fell the

« AnteriorContinuar »