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ORIGIN OF GUNPOWDER. 377 said to have been accidentally found out by Schwartz, a German monk, at Mentz, in the year 1330-pounding the materials in a mortar, a spark of fire fell into it-an explosion took place, and the mortar was thrown to some distance. Hence some kind of cannon are still called mortars ; probably with a reference to its original invention. The discovery of gunpowder has changed the military system of nations; and, though awfully destructive, yet it appears to have diminished the slaughter in war, by repressing, in some degree, the rancour which actuates combatants fighting hand to hand. A singular paragraph respecting the powers of gunpower occurs in the Essay on War, by Mr. N. Bloomfield.
It is however remarkable, that the poets ascribe the discovery of gunpowder to the Devil, who is thought to be the first author of such an invention! Speaking of its materials, Milton, in his Paradise Lost, makes one of the infernals to exclaim
These in their dark nativity the deep,
Ariosto, in his Orlando Furioso, has these lines of similar import
DETENTION OF JAMES II,
Permit me just to add a stanza from Spencer's Fairy Queen, to the same purpose; the coincidence between these three poets is impressive :
As when that devilish engine wrought
That such an article should be attributed to such an origin, cannot be matter of astonishment to a mind tinctured with humanity. It is a shocking reflection that creatures ordained by the dictates of reason, and enjoined by the precepts of Revelation, to lie together in amity, should study each other's destruction. The pages of history are stained with blood. War is at once both the curse and disgrace of mankind !
An event happened at Faversham, December, 1688, of a singular kind. This was the detention of the unfortunate James the Second, who had embarked here for France. It is mentioned in all the Histories of England. But a curious account of the event shall be here given, drawn up by Captain Richard Marsh, of this town, an eyewitness of the transaction: The nation was
DETENTION OF JAMES 11. 379 already in a ferment, and every one upon his guard to secure suspicious persons, especially strangers; at which time the Faversham sailors observing a vessel, about thirty tons burthen, lying at Shellness, to take in ballast, resolved to go on board of her; accordingly, they went in the evening with three smacks, and about forty men, and three files of musketeers, and in the cabin of it they seized three persons of quality, of whom they knew only Sir Edward Hales. From them they took three hundred guineas, and two gold medals, and brought them all three on shore, beyond Ore, on Wednesday, December 12, 1688, about ten o'clock in the morning, where they were met by a coach and about twenty gentlemen of the town on horseback, and brought to the Queen's Arms at Faversham. Here Captain Marsh, seeing the King coming out of the coach, and knowing his person, told them, to their no small surprise, that they had taken the King prisoner-upon which the gentlemen owned him for their sovereign. Then the King ordered the money taken from him to be distributed among them that took him, and wrote a letter to Lord Winchelsea to come to him, who arrived from Canterbury that night; at which the King was greatly rejoiced, as having one with him who knew how to respect his person, and awe the rabble and the sailors, who had carried themselves very brutishly and indecently towards him. He desired, very much, the gentlemen to convey him away at night, in the custom-house boat, and pressed it on their conscience; 380 DETENTION OF JAMES 11. for if the Prince of Orange should take away his life, his blood would be required at their hands. But they would by no means admit of this, saying they must be accountable for him to the prince, and it would be the means of laying the nations in blood. After this he was carried to the mayor's house; he continued under a strong guard of soldiers and sailors until Saturday morning tem o'clock. The King, having during that time sent to the lords of the council, acquainting them that the mob had possessed themselves of his money and necessaries, and desiring them to supply him with more, upon which the Earls of Fa. versham, Hilsborough, Middleton, and Yarmouth, with about 120 horse-guards, beside some sumpter horses, &c. and coaches, were sent him. They were ordered, if possible, to persuade the King to return to Whitehall, but not to put any restraint upon his person, if he chose to go beyond the sea. The lords came to Sittingbourn on Friday evening, but were met by Sir Basil Dixwell, who commanded the horse-guards in town, under the Earl of Winchelsea, with some other persons of quality, and persuaded the lords to leave the guards at Sittingbourn, and they would conduct his Majesty there the next morning, which was done, with much order and satisfaction both to the King and the people. The King lay that night at Rochester, and went the next day to Whitehall. Sir Edward Hales, and the rest of the Popish prisoners, were kept in the court-hall, only Sir Edward Hales was removed to Maid
ABDICATION OF JAMES 11. 381 stone gaol within a few hours after the King's departure. There were about ten Popish priests and others, and three Protestants, who remained prisoners at Faversham, under a strong guard, until December 30, when some were conducted to the Tower, others to Newgate, and some were released.”
It is only necessary to add, that this infatuated monarch, some little time afterwards, came back to Rochester, where, after having lingered a few days, he embarked on board of a frigate, which landed him safe at Ambleteuse, in Picardy. This quitting of the kingdom is usually termed the aldication of James; the throne being thus vacant, William and Mary were appointed to fill it up, a circumstance truly glorious; for the rights and liberties of the inhabitants of Britain were now placed on a permanent foundation. May they be perpetuated with every requisite improvement to latest posterity!
Nor should we forget to mention, that Faversham has been in early times distinguished by the presence of august visitors. Mary, widow of Lewis the Twelfth, King of France, and sister to Henry the Eighth, rested here 1515, on her return from the continent-King Henry the Eighth, in 1522, passed through with the Emperor and a numerous train of nobles ; and in 1545 he rested here on his journey to the siege of Bullein.— King Philip and Queen Mary passed through in 1557. -Queen Elizabeth slept two nights in the town, 1573; and finally, Charles the Second visited it