Abbildungen der Seite

exaggerated reports of these preparations, there were to have been certain accidents which were duly and deliberately contrived beforehand by the conspirators. Besides the great conflagration of the Sovereign Pontiff, there was to have been several supplementary bonfires in the line of march, into which certain actors of the show were to fling a mock copy of the preliminary articles of peace. This was to be the signal for a general exclamation of 'No peace!' Horse messengers had also been engaged so wrote the Cabinet scribes to gallop into the crowd 'as if to break their necks, their hacks all foam' to cry out the Queen is dead at Hampton Court!' Lord Wharton and several noblemen of even higher rank were to disguise themselves as sailors, to mix with and incite the mob. But the grand stroke was to be dealt by the Duke of Marlborough. He was on his way from Flanders covered, most inopportunely for his enemies, with the glory of one of his best achievements; that of having passed the strongly fortified lines drawn by the French from Bouchain to Arras. On this famous eve the duke was to have made his entry through Aldgate, and there met with the cry of Victory, Bouchain, the Lines, no Peace!'

But all this was harmless as compared with the threatened sequel. On the diabolical programme were said to be inscribed certain houses that were to be burnt down. That of the Commissioners of Accounts in Essex Street was to form the first pyre, because in it had been discovered and completed Marlborough's commissorial defalcations. The lord treasurer's was to follow. Harley himself was to have been torn to pieces, as the Dutch pensionary De Witt had been. Indeed

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the entire city was only to have escaped destruction and rapine by a miracle. It is here that the Spectator himself comes upon the scene. 'The Spectator, who ought to be but a looker-on, was to have been an assistant; that, seeing London in a flame, he might have opportunity to paint after the life, and remark the behaviour of the people in the ruin of their country; so to have made a diverting Spectator.'*

These were the coarse excuses which the Tories put forth for spoiling the show. At midnight on the 16-17th of Nov. a posse of Constables made forcible entry into the Drury Lane Temple of the waxen images, and by force of arms seized the Pope, the Pretender, the Cardinals, the Devil and all his works, a chariot to have been drawn by six of his imps, the canopies, the bagpipes, the bulls, the pardons, the Protestant flails, the streamers, in short the entire paraphernalia. At one fell swoop the whole collection was carried off to the Cock pit at Whitehall, then the privy Council office. That the city apprentices should not be wholly deprived of their expected treat, fifteen of the group were exhibited to the public gratis. 'I saw to-day the Pope, the Devil, and the other figures of cardinals, &c., fifteen in all, which have made such a noise. I hear the owners of them are so impudent, that their design is to replace them by law. The images are not worth forty pounds, so I stretched a little when I said a thousand. The Grub

*A true relation of the several facts and circumstances of the intended Riot and Tumult on Queen Elizabeth's birthday, &c., by an ' understrapper' of Swift. See his Journal, Nov. 26, 1711.

Street account of that tumult is published. The Devil is not like Lord Treasurer; they were all in your odd antic masks bought in common shops.' Thus wrote Swift to Stella; yet, to the public he either gave, or superintended an account of the affair which was simply a string of all the mendacious exaggerations then wilfully put about by his patrons. Such were the party tactics of Sir ROGER's time.

Page 141. Squire's Coffee House. In Fulwood's Rents, leading from Holborn into Gray's Inn Gardens as mentioned ante. It was much frequented by the Benchers and Students of Gray's Inn. Squire was a noted coffee-man,' who died in 1717.


Spectator, No. 329. Tuesday, March 18th, 1712. By Addison.

Page 142. He had been reading my paper upon Westminster Abbey. Spectator, No. 26.


Page 143. He called for a Glass of the Widow Trueby's Water. One of the innumerable strong waters' drunk, it is said, (perhaps libellously,) chiefly by the fair sex as an exhilarant; the excuses being the cholic and the vapours.' Addison, who pretends in the text to find it unpalatable, is accused as having been a constant imbiber of the Widow's distillations. Indeed, Tyers goes so far as to say, on the authority of Tacitus' Gordon, that Addison hastened his end by indulgence in them. Although an advertisement of these waters is not to be found in the Folio Spectator, yet the


[ocr errors]

curious will see in it strong puffs of other potent spirits in disguise thanks probably to the business connexions of Mr. Lillie, perfumer. A grateful electuary' is recommended in No. 113 as having the power of raising the spirits, of curing loss of memory, and revivifying all the noble powers of the soul, at the small charge of two and sixpence per bottle.

Another chymical secret, in No. 120, promises to cure 'the vapours in women, infallibly, in an instant.' Daffy's Elixir is advertised in No. 356.


Page 143. The Sickness being at Dantzick.· The plague which raged there in 1709. Idleness which has long raged in the world, destroys more in every great town than the plague has done at Dantzick.' Tatler, Nov. 22, 1709.

Page 145. 'Sir Cloudesly Shovel! a very gallant Man.'

This monument is in the south aisle of the choir.

'Sir Cloudesly Shovel's Monument has very often given me great Offence. Instead of the brave rough English Admiral, which was the distinguishing Character of that plain gallant Man, he is represented on his Tomb by the Figure of a Beau, dressed in a long Perriwig, and reposing himself upon Velvet Cushions under a Canopy of State. The Inscription is answerable to the Monument; for instead of celebrating the many remarkable Actions he had performed in the service of his Country, it acquaints us only with the Manner of his Death, in which it was impossible for him to reap any Honour.' Spectator, No. 26.

The Sculptor was F. Bird. Sir Cloudesly Shovel died in


Page 145. Dr. Busby! a great Man-he whipp'd my

Grandfather. Dr. Busby was head master of Westminster School for Fifty-five years, and had the credit of having furnished both the church and the state with a greater number of eminent scholars than any other pedagogue. At the Restoration he was made a Prebendary of Westminster, and carried the sacred ampulla at the Coronation of Charles the second. He was eighty-nine years old when he died, in 1695. His monument, sculptured by Bird, stands not far from that of Sir Cloudesly Shovel.


Page 145. The Statesman Cecil upon his Knees. In the chapel of St. Nicholas. This tomb was erected by the great Lord Burleigh, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, to the memory of his wife Mildred and their daughter Anne, whose effigies lie under a carved arch. At the base of the monument, within Corinthian columns, are kneeling figures of Sir Robert Cecil, their son, and three grand-daughters. The inscription is in Latin, very long and very tiresome.' Peter Cunningham's Westminster Abbey.


Page 145. That Martyr to good Housewifry who died with the prick of a Needle. This is one of the hundred lies' which the attendant is said to have told Goldsmith's Citizen of the World' without blushing.' The monument, in St. Edmund's Chapel, is that of Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Lord John Russel (temp. 1584). The figure is melancholily inclining her Cheek to her Right Hand, and with the Fore-finger of her Left directing us to behold the Death's Head placed at her Feet.' (Keepe Monaf. Westm.) This alone is said to have originated an unwarrantable verdict of 'died from the prick of a needle.'

« ZurückWeiter »