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A Child's History of England by Charles Dickens

Part 8 out of 8

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by pirates in those parts. All this was gloriously done; and it
began to be thoroughly well known, all over the world, that England
was governed by a man in earnest, who would not allow the English
name to be insulted or slighted anywhere.

These were not all his foreign triumphs. He sent a fleet to sea
against the Dutch; and the two powers, each with one hundred ships
upon its side, met in the English Channel off the North Foreland,
where the fight lasted all day long. Dean was killed in this
fight; but Monk, who commanded in the same ship with him, threw his
cloak over his body, that the sailors might not know of his death,
and be disheartened. Nor were they. The English broadsides so
exceedingly astonished the Dutch that they sheered off at last,
though the redoubtable Van Tromp fired upon them with his own guns
for deserting their flag. Soon afterwards, the two fleets engaged
again, off the coast of Holland. There, the valiant Van Tromp was
shot through the heart, and the Dutch gave in, and peace was made.

Further than this, Oliver resolved not to bear the domineering and
bigoted conduct of Spain, which country not only claimed a right to
all the gold and silver that could be found in South America, and
treated the ships of all other countries who visited those regions,
as pirates, but put English subjects into the horrible Spanish
prisons of the Inquisition. So, Oliver told the Spanish ambassador
that English ships must be free to go wherever they would, and that
English merchants must not be thrown into those same dungeons, no,
not for the pleasure of all the priests in Spain. To this, the
Spanish ambassador replied that the gold and silver country, and
the Holy Inquisition, were his King's two eyes, neither of which he
could submit to have put out. Very well, said Oliver, then he was
afraid he (Oliver) must damage those two eyes directly.

So, another fleet was despatched under two commanders, PENN and
VENABLES, for Hispaniola; where, however, the Spaniards got the
better of the fight. Consequently, the fleet came home again,
after taking Jamaica on the way. Oliver, indignant with the two
commanders who had not done what bold Admiral Blake would have
done, clapped them both into prison, declared war against Spain,
and made a treaty with France, in virtue of which it was to shelter
the King and his brother the Duke of York no longer. Then, he sent
a fleet abroad under bold Admiral Blake, which brought the King of
Portugal to his senses - just to keep its hand in - and then
engaged a Spanish fleet, sunk four great ships, and took two more,
laden with silver to the value of two millions of pounds: which
dazzling prize was brought from Portsmouth to London in waggons,
with the populace of all the towns and villages through which the
waggons passed, shouting with all their might. After this victory,
bold Admiral Blake sailed away to the port of Santa Cruz to cut off
the Spanish treasure-ships coming from Mexico. There, he found
them, ten in number, with seven others to take care of them, and a
big castle, and seven batteries, all roaring and blazing away at
him with great guns. Blake cared no more for great guns than for
pop-guns - no more for their hot iron balls than for snow-balls.
He dashed into the harbour, captured and burnt every one of the
ships, and came sailing out again triumphantly, with the victorious
English flag flying at his masthead. This was the last triumph of
this great commander, who had sailed and fought until he was quite
worn out. He died, as his successful ship was coming into Plymouth
Harbour amidst the joyful acclamations of the people, and was
buried in state in Westminster Abbey. Not to lie there, long.

Over and above all this, Oliver found that the VAUDOIS, or
Protestant people of the valleys of Lucerne, were insolently
treated by the Catholic powers, and were even put to death for
their religion, in an audacious and bloody manner. Instantly, he
informed those powers that this was a thing which Protestant
England would not allow; and he speedily carried his point, through
the might of his great name, and established their right to worship
God in peace after their own harmless manner.

Lastly, his English army won such admiration in fighting with the
French against the Spaniards, that, after they had assaulted the
town of Dunkirk together, the French King in person gave it up to
the English, that it might be a token to them of their might and
valour.

There were plots enough against Oliver among the frantic
religionists (who called themselves Fifth Monarchy Men), and among
the disappointed Republicans. He had a difficult game to play, for
the Royalists were always ready to side with either party against
him. The 'King over the water,' too, as Charles was called, had no
scruples about plotting with any one against his life; although
there is reason to suppose that he would willingly have married one
of his daughters, if Oliver would have had such a son-in-law.
There was a certain COLONEL SAXBY of the army, once a great
supporter of Oliver's but now turned against him, who was a
grievous trouble to him through all this part of his career; and
who came and went between the discontented in England and Spain,
and Charles who put himself in alliance with Spain on being thrown
off by France. This man died in prison at last; but not until
there had been very serious plots between the Royalists and
Republicans, and an actual rising of them in England, when they
burst into the city of Salisbury, on a Sunday night, seized the
judges who were going to hold the assizes there next day, and would
have hanged them but for the merciful objections of the more
temperate of their number. Oliver was so vigorous and shrewd that
he soon put this revolt down, as he did most other conspiracies;
and it was well for one of its chief managers - that same Lord
Wilmot who had assisted in Charles's flight, and was now EARL OF
ROCHESTER - that he made his escape. Oliver seemed to have eyes
and ears everywhere, and secured such sources of information as his
enemies little dreamed of. There was a chosen body of six persons,
called the Sealed Knot, who were in the closest and most secret
confidence of Charles. One of the foremost of these very men, a
SIR RICHARD WILLIS, reported to Oliver everything that passed among
them, and had two hundred a year for it.

MILES SYNDARCOMB, also of the old army, was another conspirator
against the Protector. He and a man named CECIL, bribed one of his
Life Guards to let them have good notice when he was going out -
intending to shoot him from a window. But, owing either to his
caution or his good fortune, they could never get an aim at him.
Disappointed in this design, they got into the chapel in Whitehall,
with a basketful of combustibles, which were to explode by means of
a slow match in six hours; then, in the noise and confusion of the
fire, they hoped to kill Oliver. But, the Life Guardsman himself
disclosed this plot; and they were seized, and Miles died (or
killed himself in prison) a little while before he was ordered for
execution. A few such plotters Oliver caused to be beheaded, a few
more to be hanged, and many more, including those who rose in arms
against him, to be sent as slaves to the West Indies. If he were
rigid, he was impartial too, in asserting the laws of England.
When a Portuguese nobleman, the brother of the Portuguese
ambassador, killed a London citizen in mistake for another man with
whom he had had a quarrel, Oliver caused him to be tried before a
jury of Englishmen and foreigners, and had him executed in spite of
the entreaties of all the ambassadors in London.

One of Oliver's own friends, the DUKE OF OLDENBURGH, in sending him
a present of six fine coach-horses, was very near doing more to
please the Royalists than all the plotters put together. One day,
Oliver went with his coach, drawn by these six horses, into Hyde
Park, to dine with his secretary and some of his other gentlemen
under the trees there. After dinner, being merry, he took it into
his head to put his friends inside and to drive them home: a
postillion riding one of the foremost horses, as the custom was.
On account of Oliver's being too free with the whip, the six fine
horses went off at a gallop, the postillion got thrown, and Oliver
fell upon the coach-pole and narrowly escaped being shot by his own
pistol, which got entangled with his clothes in the harness, and
went off. He was dragged some distance by the foot, until his foot
came out of the shoe, and then he came safely to the ground under
the broad body of the coach, and was very little the worse. The
gentlemen inside were only bruised, and the discontented people of
all parties were much disappointed.

The rest of the history of the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell is a
history of his Parliaments. His first one not pleasing him at all,
he waited until the five months were out, and then dissolved it.
The next was better suited to his views; and from that he desired
to get - if he could with safety to himself - the title of King.
He had had this in his mind some time: whether because he thought
that the English people, being more used to the title, were more
likely to obey it; or whether because he really wished to be a king
himself, and to leave the succession to that title in his family,
is far from clear. He was already as high, in England and in all
the world, as he would ever be, and I doubt if he cared for the
mere name. However, a paper, called the 'Humble Petition and
Advice,' was presented to him by the House of Commons, praying him
to take a high title and to appoint his successor. That he would
have taken the title of King there is no doubt, but for the strong
opposition of the army. This induced him to forbear, and to assent
only to the other points of the petition. Upon which occasion
there was another grand show in Westminster Hall, when the Speaker
of the House of Commons formally invested him with a purple robe
lined with ermine, and presented him with a splendidly bound Bible,
and put a golden sceptre in his hand. The next time the Parliament
met, he called a House of Lords of sixty members, as the petition
gave him power to do; but as that Parliament did not please him
either, and would not proceed to the business of the country, he
jumped into a coach one morning, took six Guards with him, and sent
them to the right-about. I wish this had been a warning to
Parliaments to avoid long speeches, and do more work.

It was the month of August, one thousand six hundred and fifty-
eight, when Oliver Cromwell's favourite daughter, ELIZABETH
CLAYPOLE (who had lately lost her youngest son), lay very ill, and
his mind was greatly troubled, because he loved her dearly.
Another of his daughters was married to LORD FALCONBERG, another to
the grandson of the Earl of Warwick, and he had made his son
RICHARD one of the Members of the Upper House. He was very kind
and loving to them all, being a good father and a good husband; but
he loved this daughter the best of the family, and went down to
Hampton Court to see her, and could hardly be induced to stir from
her sick room until she died. Although his religion had been of a
gloomy kind, his disposition had been always cheerful. He had been
fond of music in his home, and had kept open table once a week for
all officers of the army not below the rank of captain, and had
always preserved in his house a quiet, sensible dignity. He
encouraged men of genius and learning, and loved to have them about
him. MILTON was one of his great friends. He was good humoured
too, with the nobility, whose dresses and manners were very
different from his; and to show them what good information he had,
he would sometimes jokingly tell them when they were his guests,
where they had last drunk the health of the 'King over the water,'
and would recommend them to be more private (if they could) another
time. But he had lived in busy times, had borne the weight of
heavy State affairs, and had often gone in fear of his life. He
was ill of the gout and ague; and when the death of his beloved
child came upon him in addition, he sank, never to raise his head
again. He told his physicians on the twenty-fourth of August that
the Lord had assured him that he was not to die in that illness,
and that he would certainly get better. This was only his sick
fancy, for on the third of September, which was the anniversary of
the great battle of Worcester, and the day of the year which he
called his fortunate day, he died, in the sixtieth year of his age.
He had been delirious, and had lain insensible some hours, but he
had been overheard to murmur a very good prayer the day before.
The whole country lamented his death. If you want to know the real
worth of Oliver Cromwell, and his real services to his country, you
can hardly do better than compare England under him, with England
under CHARLES THE SECOND.

He had appointed his son Richard to succeed him, and after there
had been, at Somerset House in the Strand, a lying in state more
splendid than sensible - as all such vanities after death are, I
think - Richard became Lord Protector. He was an amiable country
gentleman, but had none of his father's great genius, and was quite
unfit for such a post in such a storm of parties. Richard's
Protectorate, which only lasted a year and a half, is a history of
quarrels between the officers of the army and the Parliament, and
between the officers among themselves; and of a growing discontent
among the people, who had far too many long sermons and far too few
amusements, and wanted a change. At last, General Monk got the
army well into his own hands, and then in pursuance of a secret
plan he seems to have entertained from the time of Oliver's death,
declared for the King's cause. He did not do this openly; but, in
his place in the House of Commons, as one of the members for
Devonshire, strongly advocated the proposals of one SIR JOHN
GREENVILLE, who came to the House with a letter from Charles, dated
from Breda, and with whom he had previously been in secret
communication. There had been plots and counterplots, and a recall
of the last members of the Long Parliament, and an end of the Long
Parliament, and risings of the Royalists that were made too soon;
and most men being tired out, and there being no one to head the
country now great Oliver was dead, it was readily agreed to welcome
Charles Stuart. Some of the wiser and better members said - what
was most true - that in the letter from Breda, he gave no real
promise to govern well, and that it would be best to make him
pledge himself beforehand as to what he should be bound to do for
the benefit of the kingdom. Monk said, however, it would be all
right when he came, and he could not come too soon.

So, everybody found out all in a moment that the country MUST be
prosperous and happy, having another Stuart to condescend to reign
over it; and there was a prodigious firing off of guns, lighting of
bonfires, ringing of bells, and throwing up of caps. The people
drank the King's health by thousands in the open streets, and
everybody rejoiced. Down came the Arms of the Commonwealth, up
went the Royal Arms instead, and out came the public money. Fifty
thousand pounds for the King, ten thousand pounds for his brother
the Duke of York, five thousand pounds for his brother the Duke of
Gloucester. Prayers for these gracious Stuarts were put up in all
the churches; commissioners were sent to Holland (which suddenly
found out that Charles was a great man, and that it loved him) to
invite the King home; Monk and the Kentish grandees went to Dover,
to kneel down before him as he landed. He kissed and embraced
Monk, made him ride in the coach with himself and his brothers,
came on to London amid wonderful shoutings, and passed through the
army at Blackheath on the twenty-ninth of May (his birthday), in
the year one thousand six hundred and sixty. Greeted by splendid
dinners under tents, by flags and tapestry streaming from all the
houses, by delighted crowds in all the streets, by troops of
noblemen and gentlemen in rich dresses, by City companies, train-
bands, drummers, trumpeters, the great Lord Mayor, and the majestic
Aldermen, the King went on to Whitehall. On entering it, he
commemorated his Restoration with the joke that it really would
seem to have been his own fault that he had not come long ago,
since everybody told him that he had always wished for him with all
his heart.

CHAPTER XXXV - ENGLAND UNDER CHARLES THE SECOND, CALLED THE MERRY
MONARCH

THERE never were such profligate times in England as under Charles
the Second. Whenever you see his portrait, with his swarthy, ill-
looking face and great nose, you may fancy him in his Court at
Whitehall, surrounded by some of the very worst vagabonds in the
kingdom (though they were lords and ladies), drinking, gambling,
indulging in vicious conversation, and committing every kind of
profligate excess. It has been a fashion to call Charles the
Second 'The Merry Monarch.' Let me try to give you a general idea
of some of the merry things that were done, in the merry days when
this merry gentleman sat upon his merry throne, in merry England.

The first merry proceeding was - of course - to declare that he was
one of the greatest, the wisest, and the noblest kings that ever
shone, like the blessed sun itself, on this benighted earth. The
next merry and pleasant piece of business was, for the Parliament,
in the humblest manner, to give him one million two hundred
thousand pounds a year, and to settle upon him for life that old
disputed tonnage and poundage which had been so bravely fought for.
Then, General Monk being made EARL OF ALBEMARLE, and a few other
Royalists similarly rewarded, the law went to work to see what was
to be done to those persons (they were called Regicides) who had
been concerned in making a martyr of the late King. Ten of these
were merrily executed; that is to say, six of the judges, one of
the council, Colonel Hacker and another officer who had commanded
the Guards, and HUGH PETERS, a preacher who had preached against
the martyr with all his heart. These executions were so extremely
merry, that every horrible circumstance which Cromwell had
abandoned was revived with appalling cruelty. The hearts of the
sufferers were torn out of their living bodies; their bowels were
burned before their faces; the executioner cut jokes to the next
victim, as he rubbed his filthy hands together, that were reeking
with the blood of the last; and the heads of the dead were drawn on
sledges with the living to the place of suffering. Still, even so
merry a monarch could not force one of these dying men to say that
he was sorry for what he had done. Nay, the most memorable thing
said among them was, that if the thing were to do again they would
do it.

Sir Harry Vane, who had furnished the evidence against Strafford,
and was one of the most staunch of the Republicans, was also tried,
found guilty, and ordered for execution. When he came upon the
scaffold on Tower Hill, after conducting his own defence with great
power, his notes of what he had meant to say to the people were
torn away from him, and the drums and trumpets were ordered to
sound lustily and drown his voice; for, the people had been so much
impressed by what the Regicides had calmly said with their last
breath, that it was the custom now, to have the drums and trumpets
always under the scaffold, ready to strike up. Vane said no more
than this: 'It is a bad cause which cannot bear the words of a
dying man:' and bravely died.

These merry scenes were succeeded by another, perhaps even merrier.
On the anniversary of the late King's death, the bodies of Oliver
Cromwell, Ireton, and Bradshaw, were torn out of their graves in
Westminster Abbey, dragged to Tyburn, hanged there on a gallows all
day long, and then beheaded. Imagine the head of Oliver Cromwell
set upon a pole to be stared at by a brutal crowd, not one of whom
would have dared to look the living Oliver in the face for half a
moment! Think, after you have read this reign, what England was
under Oliver Cromwell who was torn out of his grave, and what it
was under this merry monarch who sold it, like a merry Judas, over
and over again.

Of course, the remains of Oliver's wife and daughter were not to be
spared either, though they had been most excellent women. The base
clergy of that time gave up their bodies, which had been buried in
the Abbey, and - to the eternal disgrace of England - they were
thrown into a pit, together with the mouldering bones of Pym and of
the brave and bold old Admiral Blake.

The clergy acted this disgraceful part because they hoped to get
the nonconformists, or dissenters, thoroughly put down in this
reign, and to have but one prayer-book and one service for all
kinds of people, no matter what their private opinions were. This
was pretty well, I think, for a Protestant Church, which had
displaced the Romish Church because people had a right to their own
opinions in religious matters. However, they carried it with a
high hand, and a prayer-book was agreed upon, in which the
extremest opinions of Archbishop Laud were not forgotten. An Act
was passed, too, preventing any dissenter from holding any office
under any corporation. So, the regular clergy in their triumph
were soon as merry as the King. The army being by this time
disbanded, and the King crowned, everything was to go on easily for
evermore.

I must say a word here about the King's family. He had not been
long upon the throne when his brother the Duke of Gloucester, and
his sister the PRINCESS OF ORANGE, died within a few months of each
other, of small-pox. His remaining sister, the PRINCESS HENRIETTA,
married the DUKE OF ORLEANS, the brother of LOUIS THE FOURTEENTH,
King of France. His brother JAMES, DUKE OF YORK, was made High
Admiral, and by-and-by became a Catholic. He was a gloomy, sullen,
bilious sort of man, with a remarkable partiality for the ugliest
women in the country. He married, under very discreditable
circumstances, ANNE HYDE, the daughter of LORD CLARENDON, then the
King's principal Minister - not at all a delicate minister either,
but doing much of the dirty work of a very dirty palace. It became
important now that the King himself should be married; and divers
foreign Monarchs, not very particular about the character of their
son-in-law, proposed their daughters to him. The KING OF PORTUGAL
offered his daughter, CATHERINE OF BRAGANZA, and fifty thousand
pounds: in addition to which, the French King, who was favourable
to that match, offered a loan of another fifty thousand. The King
of Spain, on the other hand, offered any one out of a dozen of
Princesses, and other hopes of gain. But the ready money carried
the day, and Catherine came over in state to her merry marriage.

The whole Court was a great flaunting crowd of debauched men and
shameless women; and Catherine's merry husband insulted and
outraged her in every possible way, until she consented to receive
those worthless creatures as her very good friends, and to degrade
herself by their companionship. A MRS. PALMER, whom the King made
LADY CASTLEMAINE, and afterwards DUCHESS OF CLEVELAND, was one of
the most powerful of the bad women about the Court, and had great
influence with the King nearly all through his reign. Another
merry lady named MOLL DAVIES, a dancer at the theatre, was
afterwards her rival. So was NELL GWYN, first an orange girl and
then an actress, who really had good in her, and of whom one of the
worst things I know is, that actually she does seem to have been
fond of the King. The first DUKE OF ST. ALBANS was this orange
girl's child. In like manner the son of a merry waiting-lady, whom
the King created DUCHESS OF PORTSMOUTH, became the DUKE OF
RICHMOND. Upon the whole it is not so bad a thing to be a
commoner.

The Merry Monarch was so exceedingly merry among these merry
ladies, and some equally merry (and equally infamous) lords and
gentlemen, that he soon got through his hundred thousand pounds,
and then, by way of raising a little pocket-money, made a merry
bargain. He sold Dunkirk to the French King for five millions of
livres. When I think of the dignity to which Oliver Cromwell
raised England in the eyes of foreign powers, and when I think of
the manner in which he gained for England this very Dunkirk, I am
much inclined to consider that if the Merry Monarch had been made
to follow his father for this action, he would have received his
just deserts.

Though he was like his father in none of that father's greater
qualities, he was like him in being worthy of no trust. When he
sent that letter to the Parliament, from Breda, he did expressly
promise that all sincere religious opinions should be respected.
Yet he was no sooner firm in his power than he consented to one of
the worst Acts of Parliament ever passed. Under this law, every
minister who should not give his solemn assent to the Prayer-Book
by a certain day, was declared to be a minister no longer, and to
be deprived of his church. The consequence of this was that some
two thousand honest men were taken from their congregations, and
reduced to dire poverty and distress. It was followed by another
outrageous law, called the Conventicle Act, by which any person
above the age of sixteen who was present at any religious service
not according to the Prayer-Book, was to be imprisoned three months
for the first offence, six for the second, and to be transported
for the third. This Act alone filled the prisons, which were then
most dreadful dungeons, to overflowing.

The Covenanters in Scotland had already fared no better. A base
Parliament, usually known as the Drunken Parliament, in consequence
of its principal members being seldom sober, had been got together
to make laws against the Covenanters, and to force all men to be of
one mind in religious matters. The MARQUIS OF ARGYLE, relying on
the King's honour, had given himself up to him; but, he was
wealthy, and his enemies wanted his wealth. He was tried for
treason, on the evidence of some private letters in which he had
expressed opinions - as well he might - more favourable to the
government of the late Lord Protector than of the present merry and
religious King. He was executed, as were two men of mark among the
Covenanters; and SHARP, a traitor who had once been the friend of
the Presbyterians and betrayed them, was made Archbishop of St.
Andrew's, to teach the Scotch how to like bishops.

Things being in this merry state at home, the Merry Monarch
undertook a war with the Dutch; principally because they interfered
with an African company, established with the two objects of buying
gold-dust and slaves, of which the Duke of York was a leading
member. After some preliminary hostilities, the said Duke sailed
to the coast of Holland with a fleet of ninety-eight vessels of
war, and four fire-ships. This engaged with the Dutch fleet, of no
fewer than one hundred and thirteen ships. In the great battle
between the two forces, the Dutch lost eighteen ships, four
admirals, and seven thousand men. But, the English on shore were
in no mood of exultation when they heard the news.

For, this was the year and the time of the Great Plague in London.
During the winter of one thousand six hundred and sixty-four it had
been whispered about, that some few people had died here and there
of the disease called the Plague, in some of the unwholesome
suburbs around London. News was not published at that time as it
is now, and some people believed these rumours, and some
disbelieved them, and they were soon forgotten. But, in the month
of May, one thousand six hundred and sixty-five, it began to be
said all over the town that the disease had burst out with great
violence in St. Giles's, and that the people were dying in great
numbers. This soon turned out to be awfully true. The roads out
of London were choked up by people endeavouring to escape from the
infected city, and large sums were paid for any kind of conveyance.
The disease soon spread so fast, that it was necessary to shut up
the houses in which sick people were, and to cut them off from
communication with the living. Every one of these houses was
marked on the outside of the door with a red cross, and the words,
Lord, have mercy upon us! The streets were all deserted, grass
grew in the public ways, and there was a dreadful silence in the
air. When night came on, dismal rumblings used to be heard, and
these were the wheels of the death-carts, attended by men with
veiled faces and holding cloths to their mouths, who rang doleful
bells and cried in a loud and solemn voice, 'Bring out your dead!'
The corpses put into these carts were buried by torchlight in great
pits; no service being performed over them; all men being afraid to
stay for a moment on the brink of the ghastly graves. In the
general fear, children ran away from their parents, and parents
from their children. Some who were taken ill, died alone, and
without any help. Some were stabbed or strangled by hired nurses
who robbed them of all their money, and stole the very beds on
which they lay. Some went mad, dropped from the windows, ran
through the streets, and in their pain and frenzy flung themselves
into the river.

These were not all the horrors of the time. The wicked and
dissolute, in wild desperation, sat in the taverns singing roaring
songs, and were stricken as they drank, and went out and died. The
fearful and superstitious persuaded themselves that they saw
supernatural sights - burning swords in the sky, gigantic arms and
darts. Others pretended that at nights vast crowds of ghosts
walked round and round the dismal pits. One madman, naked, and
carrying a brazier full of burning coals upon his head, stalked
through the streets, crying out that he was a Prophet, commissioned
to denounce the vengeance of the Lord on wicked London. Another
always went to and fro, exclaiming, 'Yet forty days, and London
shall be destroyed!' A third awoke the echoes in the dismal
streets, by night and by day, and made the blood of the sick run
cold, by calling out incessantly, in a deep hoarse voice, 'O, the
great and dreadful God!'

Through the months of July and August and September, the Great
Plague raged more and more. Great fires were lighted in the
streets, in the hope of stopping the infection; but there was a
plague of rain too, and it beat the fires out. At last, the winds
which usually arise at that time of the year which is called the
equinox, when day and night are of equal length all over the world,
began to blow, and to purify the wretched town. The deaths began
to decrease, the red crosses slowly to disappear, the fugitives to
return, the shops to open, pale frightened faces to be seen in the
streets. The Plague had been in every part of England, but in
close and unwholesome London it had killed one hundred thousand
people.

All this time, the Merry Monarch was as merry as ever, and as
worthless as ever. All this time, the debauched lords and
gentlemen and the shameless ladies danced and gamed and drank, and
loved and hated one another, according to their merry ways.

So little humanity did the government learn from the late
affliction, that one of the first things the Parliament did when it
met at Oxford (being as yet afraid to come to London), was to make
a law, called the Five Mile Act, expressly directed against those
poor ministers who, in the time of the Plague, had manfully come
back to comfort the unhappy people. This infamous law, by
forbidding them to teach in any school, or to come within five
miles of any city, town, or village, doomed them to starvation and
death.

The fleet had been at sea, and healthy. The King of France was now
in alliance with the Dutch, though his navy was chiefly employed in
looking on while the English and Dutch fought. The Dutch gained
one victory; and the English gained another and a greater; and
Prince Rupert, one of the English admirals, was out in the Channel
one windy night, looking for the French Admiral, with the intention
of giving him something more to do than he had had yet, when the
gale increased to a storm, and blew him into Saint Helen's. That
night was the third of September, one thousand six hundred and
sixty-six, and that wind fanned the Great Fire of London.

It broke out at a baker's shop near London Bridge, on the spot on
which the Monument now stands as a remembrance of those raging
flames. It spread and spread, and burned and burned, for three
days. The nights were lighter than the days; in the daytime there
was an immense cloud of smoke, and in the night-time there was a
great tower of fire mounting up into the sky, which lighted the
whole country landscape for ten miles round. Showers of hot ashes
rose into the air and fell on distant places; flying sparks carried
the conflagration to great distances, and kindled it in twenty new
spots at a time; church steeples fell down with tremendous crashes;
houses crumbled into cinders by the hundred and the thousand. The
summer had been intensely hot and dry, the streets were very
narrow, and the houses mostly built of wood and plaster. Nothing
could stop the tremendous fire, but the want of more houses to
burn; nor did it stop until the whole way from the Tower to Temple
Bar was a desert, composed of the ashes of thirteen thousand houses
and eighty-nine churches.

This was a terrible visitation at the time, and occasioned great
loss and suffering to the two hundred thousand burnt-out people,
who were obliged to lie in the fields under the open night sky, or
in hastily-made huts of mud and straw, while the lanes and roads
were rendered impassable by carts which had broken down as they
tried to save their goods. But the Fire was a great blessing to
the City afterwards, for it arose from its ruins very much improved
- built more regularly, more widely, more cleanly and carefully,
and therefore much more healthily. It might be far more healthy
than it is, but there are some people in it still - even now, at
this time, nearly two hundred years later - so selfish, so pig-
headed, and so ignorant, that I doubt if even another Great Fire
would warm them up to do their duty.

The Catholics were accused of having wilfully set London in flames;
one poor Frenchman, who had been mad for years, even accused
himself of having with his own hand fired the first house. There
is no reasonable doubt, however, that the fire was accidental. An
inscription on the Monument long attributed it to the Catholics;
but it is removed now, and was always a malicious and stupid
untruth.

SECOND PART

THAT the Merry Monarch might be very merry indeed, in the merry
times when his people were suffering under pestilence and fire, he
drank and gambled and flung away among his favourites the money
which the Parliament had voted for the war. The consequence of
this was that the stout-hearted English sailors were merrily
starving of want, and dying in the streets; while the Dutch, under
their admirals DE WITT and DE RUYTER, came into the River Thames,
and up the River Medway as far as Upnor, burned the guard-ships,
silenced the weak batteries, and did what they would to the English
coast for six whole weeks. Most of the English ships that could
have prevented them had neither powder nor shot on board; in this
merry reign, public officers made themselves as merry as the King
did with the public money; and when it was entrusted to them to
spend in national defences or preparations, they put it into their
own pockets with the merriest grace in the world.

Lord Clarendon had, by this time, run as long a course as is
usually allotted to the unscrupulous ministers of bad kings. He
was impeached by his political opponents, but unsuccessfully. The
King then commanded him to withdraw from England and retire to
France, which he did, after defending himself in writing. He was
no great loss at home, and died abroad some seven years afterwards.

There then came into power a ministry called the Cabal Ministry,
because it was composed of LORD CLIFFORD, the EARL OF ARLINGTON,
the DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM (a great rascal, and the King's most
powerful favourite), LORD ASHLEY, and the DUKE OF LAUDERDALE, C. A.
B. A. L. As the French were making conquests in Flanders, the
first Cabal proceeding was to make a treaty with the Dutch, for
uniting with Spain to oppose the French. It was no sooner made
than the Merry Monarch, who always wanted to get money without
being accountable to a Parliament for his expenditure, apologised
to the King of France for having had anything to do with it, and
concluded a secret treaty with him, making himself his infamous
pensioner to the amount of two millions of livres down, and three
millions more a year; and engaging to desert that very Spain, to
make war against those very Dutch, and to declare himself a
Catholic when a convenient time should arrive. This religious king
had lately been crying to his Catholic brother on the subject of
his strong desire to be a Catholic; and now he merrily concluded
this treasonable conspiracy against the country he governed, by
undertaking to become one as soon as he safely could. For all of
which, though he had had ten merry heads instead of one, he richly
deserved to lose them by the headsman's axe.

As his one merry head might have been far from safe, if these
things had been known, they were kept very quiet, and war was
declared by France and England against the Dutch. But, a very
uncommon man, afterwards most important to English history and to
the religion and liberty of this land, arose among them, and for
many long years defeated the whole projects of France. This was
WILLIAM OF NASSAU, PRINCE OF ORANGE, son of the last Prince of
Orange of the same name, who married the daughter of Charles the
First of England. He was a young man at this time, only just of
age; but he was brave, cool, intrepid, and wise. His father had
been so detested that, upon his death, the Dutch had abolished the
authority to which this son would have otherwise succeeded
(Stadtholder it was called), and placed the chief power in the
hands of JOHN DE WITT, who educated this young prince. Now, the
Prince became very popular, and John de Witt's brother CORNELIUS
was sentenced to banishment on a false accusation of conspiring to
kill him. John went to the prison where he was, to take him away
to exile, in his coach; and a great mob who collected on the
occasion, then and there cruelly murdered both the brothers. This
left the government in the hands of the Prince, who was really the
choice of the nation; and from this time he exercised it with the
greatest vigour, against the whole power of France, under its
famous generals CONDE and TURENNE, and in support of the Protestant
religion. It was full seven years before this war ended in a
treaty of peace made at Nimeguen, and its details would occupy a
very considerable space. It is enough to say that William of
Orange established a famous character with the whole world; and
that the Merry Monarch, adding to and improving on his former
baseness, bound himself to do everything the King of France liked,
and nothing the King of France did not like, for a pension of one
hundred thousand pounds a year, which was afterwards doubled.
Besides this, the King of France, by means of his corrupt
ambassador - who wrote accounts of his proceedings in England,
which are not always to be believed, I think - bought our English
members of Parliament, as he wanted them. So, in point of fact,
during a considerable portion of this merry reign, the King of
France was the real King of this country.

But there was a better time to come, and it was to come (though his
royal uncle little thought so) through that very William, Prince of
Orange. He came over to England, saw Mary, the elder daughter of
the Duke of York, and married her. We shall see by-and-by what
came of that marriage, and why it is never to be forgotten.

This daughter was a Protestant, but her mother died a Catholic.
She and her sister ANNE, also a Protestant, were the only survivors
of eight children. Anne afterwards married GEORGE, PRINCE OF
DENMARK, brother to the King of that country.

Lest you should do the Merry Monarch the injustice of supposing
that he was even good humoured (except when he had everything his
own way), or that he was high spirited and honourable, I will
mention here what was done to a member of the House of Commons, SIR
JOHN COVENTRY. He made a remark in a debate about taxing the
theatres, which gave the King offence. The King agreed with his
illegitimate son, who had been born abroad, and whom he had made
DUKE OF MONMOUTH, to take the following merry vengeance. To waylay
him at night, fifteen armed men to one, and to slit his nose with a
penknife. Like master, like man. The King's favourite, the Duke
of Buckingham, was strongly suspected of setting on an assassin to
murder the DUKE OF ORMOND as he was returning home from a dinner;
and that Duke's spirited son, LORD OSSORY, was so persuaded of his
guilt, that he said to him at Court, even as he stood beside the
King, 'My lord, I know very well that you are at the bottom of this
late attempt upon my father. But I give you warning, if he ever
come to a violent end, his blood shall be upon you, and wherever I
meet you I will pistol you! I will do so, though I find you
standing behind the King's chair; and I tell you this in his
Majesty's presence, that you may be quite sure of my doing what I
threaten.' Those were merry times indeed.

There was a fellow named BLOOD, who was seized for making, with two
companions, an audacious attempt to steal the crown, the globe, and
sceptre, from the place where the jewels were kept in the Tower.
This robber, who was a swaggering ruffian, being taken, declared
that he was the man who had endeavoured to kill the Duke of Ormond,
and that he had meant to kill the King too, but was overawed by the
majesty of his appearance, when he might otherwise have done it, as
he was bathing at Battersea. The King being but an ill-looking
fellow, I don't believe a word of this. Whether he was flattered,
or whether he knew that Buckingham had really set Blood on to
murder the Duke, is uncertain. But it is quite certain that he
pardoned this thief, gave him an estate of five hundred a year in
Ireland (which had had the honour of giving him birth), and
presented him at Court to the debauched lords and the shameless
ladies, who made a great deal of him - as I have no doubt they
would have made of the Devil himself, if the King had introduced
him.

Infamously pensioned as he was, the King still wanted money, and
consequently was obliged to call Parliaments. In these, the great
object of the Protestants was to thwart the Catholic Duke of York,
who married a second time; his new wife being a young lady only
fifteen years old, the Catholic sister of the DUKE OF MODENA. In
this they were seconded by the Protestant Dissenters, though to
their own disadvantage: since, to exclude Catholics from power,
they were even willing to exclude themselves. The King's object
was to pretend to be a Protestant, while he was really a Catholic;
to swear to the bishops that he was devoutly attached to the
English Church, while he knew he had bargained it away to the King
of France; and by cheating and deceiving them, and all who were
attached to royalty, to become despotic and be powerful enough to
confess what a rascal he was. Meantime, the King of France,
knowing his merry pensioner well, intrigued with the King's
opponents in Parliament, as well as with the King and his friends.

The fears that the country had of the Catholic religion being
restored, if the Duke of York should come to the throne, and the
low cunning of the King in pretending to share their alarms, led to
some very terrible results. A certain DR. TONGE, a dull clergyman
in the City, fell into the hands of a certain TITUS OATES, a most
infamous character, who pretended to have acquired among the
Jesuits abroad a knowledge of a great plot for the murder of the
King, and the re-establishment if the Catholic religion. Titus
Oates, being produced by this unlucky Dr. Tonge and solemnly
examined before the council, contradicted himself in a thousand
ways, told the most ridiculous and improbable stories, and
implicated COLEMAN, the Secretary of the Duchess of York. Now,
although what he charged against Coleman was not true, and although
you and I know very well that the real dangerous Catholic plot was
that one with the King of France of which the Merry Monarch was
himself the head, there happened to be found among Coleman's
papers, some letters, in which he did praise the days of Bloody
Queen Mary, and abuse the Protestant religion. This was great good
fortune for Titus, as it seemed to confirm him; but better still
was in store. SIR EDMUNDBURY GODFREY, the magistrate who had first
examined him, being unexpectedly found dead near Primrose Hill, was
confidently believed to have been killed by the Catholics. I think
there is no doubt that he had been melancholy mad, and that he
killed himself; but he had a great Protestant funeral, and Titus
was called the Saver of the Nation, and received a pension of
twelve hundred pounds a year.

As soon as Oates's wickedness had met with this success, up started
another villain, named WILLIAM BEDLOE, who, attracted by a reward
of five hundred pounds offered for the apprehension of the
murderers of Godfrey, came forward and charged two Jesuits and some
other persons with having committed it at the Queen's desire.
Oates, going into partnership with this new informer, had the
audacity to accuse the poor Queen herself of high treason. Then
appeared a third informer, as bad as either of the two, and accused
a Catholic banker named STAYLEY of having said that the King was
the greatest rogue in the world (which would not have been far from
the truth), and that he would kill him with his own hand. This
banker, being at once tried and executed, Coleman and two others
were tried and executed. Then, a miserable wretch named PRANCE, a
Catholic silversmith, being accused by Bedloe, was tortured into
confessing that he had taken part in Godfrey's murder, and into
accusing three other men of having committed it. Then, five
Jesuits were accused by Oates, Bedloe, and Prance together, and
were all found guilty, and executed on the same kind of
contradictory and absurd evidence. The Queen's physician and three
monks were next put on their trial; but Oates and Bedloe had for
the time gone far enough and these four were acquitted. The public
mind, however, was so full of a Catholic plot, and so strong
against the Duke of York, that James consented to obey a written
order from his brother, and to go with his family to Brussels,
provided that his rights should never be sacrificed in his absence
to the Duke of Monmouth. The House of Commons, not satisfied with
this as the King hoped, passed a bill to exclude the Duke from ever
succeeding to the throne. In return, the King dissolved the
Parliament. He had deserted his old favourite, the Duke of
Buckingham, who was now in the opposition.

To give any sufficient idea of the miseries of Scotland in this
merry reign, would occupy a hundred pages. Because the people
would not have bishops, and were resolved to stand by their solemn
League and Covenant, such cruelties were inflicted upon them as
make the blood run cold. Ferocious dragoons galloped through the
country to punish the peasants for deserting the churches; sons
were hanged up at their fathers' doors for refusing to disclose
where their fathers were concealed; wives were tortured to death
for not betraying their husbands; people were taken out of their
fields and gardens, and shot on the public roads without trial;
lighted matches were tied to the fingers of prisoners, and a most
horrible torment called the Boot was invented, and constantly
applied, which ground and mashed the victims' legs with iron
wedges. Witnesses were tortured as well as prisoners. All the
prisons were full; all the gibbets were heavy with bodies; murder
and plunder devastated the whole country. In spite of all, the
Covenanters were by no means to be dragged into the churches, and
persisted in worshipping God as they thought right. A body of
ferocious Highlanders, turned upon them from the mountains of their
own country, had no greater effect than the English dragoons under
GRAHAME OF CLAVERHOUSE, the most cruel and rapacious of all their
enemies, whose name will ever be cursed through the length and
breadth of Scotland. Archbishop Sharp had ever aided and abetted
all these outrages. But he fell at last; for, when the injuries of
the Scottish people were at their height, he was seen, in his
coach-and-six coming across a moor, by a body of men, headed by one
JOHN BALFOUR, who were waiting for another of their oppressors.
Upon this they cried out that Heaven had delivered him into their
hands, and killed him with many wounds. If ever a man deserved
such a death, I think Archbishop Sharp did.

It made a great noise directly, and the Merry Monarch - strongly
suspected of having goaded the Scottish people on, that he might
have an excuse for a greater army than the Parliament were willing
to give him - sent down his son, the Duke of Monmouth, as
commander-in-chief, with instructions to attack the Scottish
rebels, or Whigs as they were called, whenever he came up with
them. Marching with ten thousand men from Edinburgh, he found
them, in number four or five thousand, drawn up at Bothwell Bridge,
by the Clyde. They were soon dispersed; and Monmouth showed a more
humane character towards them, than he had shown towards that
Member of Parliament whose nose he had caused to be slit with a
penknife. But the Duke of Lauderdale was their bitter foe, and
sent Claverhouse to finish them.

As the Duke of York became more and more unpopular, the Duke of
Monmouth became more and more popular. It would have been decent
in the latter not to have voted in favour of the renewed bill for
the exclusion of James from the throne; but he did so, much to the
King's amusement, who used to sit in the House of Lords by the
fire, hearing the debates, which he said were as good as a play.
The House of Commons passed the bill by a large majority, and it
was carried up to the House of Lords by LORD RUSSELL, one of the
best of the leaders on the Protestant side. It was rejected there,
chiefly because the bishops helped the King to get rid of it; and
the fear of Catholic plots revived again. There had been another
got up, by a fellow out of Newgate, named DANGERFIELD, which is
more famous than it deserves to be, under the name of the MEAL-TUB
PLOT. This jail-bird having been got out of Newgate by a MRS.
CELLIER, a Catholic nurse, had turned Catholic himself, and
pretended that he knew of a plot among the Presbyterians against
the King's life. This was very pleasant to the Duke of York, who
hated the Presbyterians, who returned the compliment. He gave
Dangerfield twenty guineas, and sent him to the King his brother.
But Dangerfield, breaking down altogether in his charge, and being
sent back to Newgate, almost astonished the Duke out of his five
senses by suddenly swearing that the Catholic nurse had put that
false design into his head, and that what he really knew about,
was, a Catholic plot against the King; the evidence of which would
be found in some papers, concealed in a meal-tub in Mrs. Cellier's
house. There they were, of course - for he had put them there
himself - and so the tub gave the name to the plot. But, the nurse
was acquitted on her trial, and it came to nothing.

Lord Ashley, of the Cabal, was now Lord Shaftesbury, and was strong
against the succession of the Duke of York. The House of Commons,
aggravated to the utmost extent, as we may well suppose, by
suspicions of the King's conspiracy with the King of France, made a
desperate point of the exclusion, still, and were bitter against
the Catholics generally. So unjustly bitter were they, I grieve to
say, that they impeached the venerable Lord Stafford, a Catholic
nobleman seventy years old, of a design to kill the King. The
witnesses were that atrocious Oates and two other birds of the same
feather. He was found guilty, on evidence quite as foolish as it
was false, and was beheaded on Tower Hill. The people were opposed
to him when he first appeared upon the scaffold; but, when he had
addressed them and shown them how innocent he was and how wickedly
he was sent there, their better nature was aroused, and they said,
'We believe you, my Lord. God bless you, my Lord!'

The House of Commons refused to let the King have any money until
he should consent to the Exclusion Bill; but, as he could get it
and did get it from his master the King of France, he could afford
to hold them very cheap. He called a Parliament at Oxford, to
which he went down with a great show of being armed and protected
as if he were in danger of his life, and to which the opposition
members also went armed and protected, alleging that they were in
fear of the Papists, who were numerous among the King's guards.
However, they went on with the Exclusion Bill, and were so earnest
upon it that they would have carried it again, if the King had not
popped his crown and state robes into a sedan-chair, bundled
himself into it along with them, hurried down to the chamber where
the House of Lords met, and dissolved the Parliament. After which
he scampered home, and the members of Parliament scampered home
too, as fast as their legs could carry them.

The Duke of York, then residing in Scotland, had, under the law
which excluded Catholics from public trust, no right whatever to
public employment. Nevertheless, he was openly employed as the
King's representative in Scotland, and there gratified his sullen
and cruel nature to his heart's content by directing the dreadful
cruelties against the Covenanters. There were two ministers named
CARGILL and CAMERON who had escaped from the battle of Bothwell
Bridge, and who returned to Scotland, and raised the miserable but
still brave and unsubdued Covenanters afresh, under the name of
Cameronians. As Cameron publicly posted a declaration that the
King was a forsworn tyrant, no mercy was shown to his unhappy
followers after he was slain in battle. The Duke of York, who was
particularly fond of the Boot and derived great pleasure from
having it applied, offered their lives to some of these people, if
they would cry on the scaffold 'God save the King!' But their
relations, friends, and countrymen, had been so barbarously
tortured and murdered in this merry reign, that they preferred to
die, and did die. The Duke then obtained his merry brother's
permission to hold a Parliament in Scotland, which first, with most
shameless deceit, confirmed the laws for securing the Protestant
religion against Popery, and then declared that nothing must or
should prevent the succession of the Popish Duke. After this
double-faced beginning, it established an oath which no human being
could understand, but which everybody was to take, as a proof that
his religion was the lawful religion. The Earl of Argyle, taking
it with the explanation that he did not consider it to prevent him
from favouring any alteration either in the Church or State which
was not inconsistent with the Protestant religion or with his
loyalty, was tried for high treason before a Scottish jury of which
the MARQUIS OF MONTROSE was foreman, and was found guilty. He
escaped the scaffold, for that time, by getting away, in the
disguise of a page, in the train of his daughter, LADY SOPHIA
LINDSAY. It was absolutely proposed, by certain members of the
Scottish Council, that this lady should be whipped through the
streets of Edinburgh. But this was too much even for the Duke, who
had the manliness then (he had very little at most times) to remark
that Englishmen were not accustomed to treat ladies in that manner.
In those merry times nothing could equal the brutal servility of
the Scottish fawners, but the conduct of similar degraded beings in
England.

After the settlement of these little affairs, the Duke returned to
England, and soon resumed his place at the Council, and his office
of High Admiral - all this by his brother's favour, and in open
defiance of the law. It would have been no loss to the country, if
he had been drowned when his ship, in going to Scotland to fetch
his family, struck on a sand-bank, and was lost with two hundred
souls on board. But he escaped in a boat with some friends; and
the sailors were so brave and unselfish, that, when they saw him
rowing away, they gave three cheers, while they themselves were
going down for ever.

The Merry Monarch, having got rid of his Parliament, went to work
to make himself despotic, with all speed. Having had the villainy
to order the execution of OLIVER PLUNKET, BISHOP OF ARMAGH, falsely
accused of a plot to establish Popery in that country by means of a
French army - the very thing this royal traitor was himself trying
to do at home - and having tried to ruin Lord Shaftesbury, and
failed - he turned his hand to controlling the corporations all
over the country; because, if he could only do that, he could get
what juries he chose, to bring in perjured verdicts, and could get
what members he chose returned to Parliament. These merry times
produced, and made Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, a
drunken ruffian of the name of JEFFREYS; a red-faced, swollen,
bloated, horrible creature, with a bullying, roaring voice, and a
more savage nature perhaps than was ever lodged in any human
breast. This monster was the Merry Monarch's especial favourite,
and he testified his admiration of him by giving him a ring from
his own finger, which the people used to call Judge Jeffreys's
Bloodstone. Him the King employed to go about and bully the
corporations, beginning with London; or, as Jeffreys himself
elegantly called it, 'to give them a lick with the rough side of
his tongue.' And he did it so thoroughly, that they soon became
the basest and most sycophantic bodies in the kingdom - except the
University of Oxford, which, in that respect, was quite pre-eminent
and unapproachable.

Lord Shaftesbury (who died soon after the King's failure against
him), LORD WILLIAM RUSSELL, the Duke of Monmouth, LORD HOWARD, LORD
JERSEY, ALGERNON SIDNEY, JOHN HAMPDEN (grandson of the great
Hampden), and some others, used to hold a council together after
the dissolution of the Parliament, arranging what it might be
necessary to do, if the King carried his Popish plot to the utmost
height. Lord Shaftesbury having been much the most violent of this
party, brought two violent men into their secrets - RUMSEY, who had
been a soldier in the Republican army; and WEST, a lawyer. These
two knew an old officer of CROMWELL'S, called RUMBOLD, who had
married a maltster's widow, and so had come into possession of a
solitary dwelling called the Rye House, near Hoddesdon, in
Hertfordshire. Rumbold said to them what a capital place this
house of his would be from which to shoot at the King, who often
passed there going to and fro from Newmarket. They liked the idea,
and entertained it. But, one of their body gave information; and
they, together with SHEPHERD a wine merchant, Lord Russell,
Algernon Sidney, LORD ESSEX, LORD HOWARD, and Hampden, were all
arrested.

Lord Russell might have easily escaped, but scorned to do so, being
innocent of any wrong; Lord Essex might have easily escaped, but
scorned to do so, lest his flight should prejudice Lord Russell.
But it weighed upon his mind that he had brought into their
council, Lord Howard - who now turned a miserable traitor - against
a great dislike Lord Russell had always had of him. He could not
bear the reflection, and destroyed himself before Lord Russell was
brought to trial at the Old Bailey.

He knew very well that he had nothing to hope, having always been
manful in the Protestant cause against the two false brothers, the
one on the throne, and the other standing next to it. He had a
wife, one of the noblest and best of women, who acted as his
secretary on his trial, who comforted him in his prison, who supped
with him on the night before he died, and whose love and virtue and
devotion have made her name imperishable. Of course, he was found
guilty, and was sentenced to be beheaded in Lincoln's Inn-fields,
not many yards from his own house. When he had parted from his
children on the evening before his death, his wife still stayed
with him until ten o'clock at night; and when their final
separation in this world was over, and he had kissed her many
times, he still sat for a long while in his prison, talking of her
goodness. Hearing the rain fall fast at that time, he calmly said,
'Such a rain to-morrow will spoil a great show, which is a dull
thing on a rainy day.' At midnight he went to bed, and slept till
four; even when his servant called him, he fell asleep again while
his clothes were being made ready. He rode to the scaffold in his
own carriage, attended by two famous clergymen, TILLOTSON and
BURNET, and sang a psalm to himself very softly, as he went along.
He was as quiet and as steady as if he had been going out for an
ordinary ride. After saying that he was surprised to see so great
a crowd, he laid down his head upon the block, as if upon the
pillow of his bed, and had it struck off at the second blow. His
noble wife was busy for him even then; for that true-hearted lady
printed and widely circulated his last words, of which he had given
her a copy. They made the blood of all the honest men in England
boil.

The University of Oxford distinguished itself on the very same day
by pretending to believe that the accusation against Lord Russell
was true, and by calling the King, in a written paper, the Breath
of their Nostrils and the Anointed of the Lord. This paper the
Parliament afterwards caused to be burned by the common hangman;
which I am sorry for, as I wish it had been framed and glazed and
hung up in some public place, as a monument of baseness for the
scorn of mankind.

Next, came the trial of Algernon Sidney, at which Jeffreys
presided, like a great crimson toad, sweltering and swelling with
rage. 'I pray God, Mr. Sidney,' said this Chief Justice of a merry
reign, after passing sentence, 'to work in you a temper fit to go
to the other world, for I see you are not fit for this.' 'My
lord,' said the prisoner, composedly holding out his arm, 'feel my
pulse, and see if I be disordered. I thank Heaven I never was in
better temper than I am now.' Algernon Sidney was executed on
Tower Hill, on the seventh of December, one thousand six hundred
and eighty-three. He died a hero, and died, in his own words, 'For
that good old cause in which he had been engaged from his youth,
and for which God had so often and so wonderfully declared
himself.'

The Duke of Monmouth had been making his uncle, the Duke of York,
very jealous, by going about the country in a royal sort of way,
playing at the people's games, becoming godfather to their
children, and even touching for the King's evil, or stroking the
faces of the sick to cure them - though, for the matter of that, I
should say he did them about as much good as any crowned king could
have done. His father had got him to write a letter, confessing
his having had a part in the conspiracy, for which Lord Russell had
been beheaded; but he was ever a weak man, and as soon as he had
written it, he was ashamed of it and got it back again. For this,
he was banished to the Netherlands; but he soon returned and had an
interview with his father, unknown to his uncle. It would seem
that he was coming into the Merry Monarch's favour again, and that
the Duke of York was sliding out of it, when Death appeared to the
merry galleries at Whitehall, and astonished the debauched lords
and gentlemen, and the shameless ladies, very considerably.

On Monday, the second of February, one thousand six hundred and
eighty-five, the merry pensioner and servant of the King of France
fell down in a fit of apoplexy. By the Wednesday his case was
hopeless, and on the Thursday he was told so. As he made a
difficulty about taking the sacrament from the Protestant Bishop of
Bath, the Duke of York got all who were present away from the bed,
and asked his brother, in a whisper, if he should send for a
Catholic priest? The King replied, 'For God's sake, brother, do!'
The Duke smuggled in, up the back stairs, disguised in a wig and
gown, a priest named HUDDLESTON, who had saved the King's life
after the battle of Worcester: telling him that this worthy man in
the wig had once saved his body, and was now come to save his soul.

The Merry Monarch lived through that night, and died before noon on
the next day, which was Friday, the sixth. Two of the last things
he said were of a human sort, and your remembrance will give him
the full benefit of them. When the Queen sent to say she was too
unwell to attend him and to ask his pardon, he said, 'Alas! poor
woman, SHE beg MY pardon! I beg hers with all my heart. Take back
that answer to her.' And he also said, in reference to Nell Gwyn,
'Do not let poor Nelly starve.'

He died in the fifty-fifth year of his age, and the twenty-fifth of
his reign.

CHAPTER XXXVI - ENGLAND UNDER JAMES THE SECOND

KING JAMES THE SECOND was a man so very disagreeable, that even the
best of historians has favoured his brother Charles, as becoming,
by comparison, quite a pleasant character. The one object of his
short reign was to re-establish the Catholic religion in England;
and this he doggedly pursued with such a stupid obstinacy, that his
career very soon came to a close.

The first thing he did, was, to assure his council that he would
make it his endeavour to preserve the Government, both in Church
and State, as it was by law established; and that he would always
take care to defend and support the Church. Great public
acclamations were raised over this fair speech, and a great deal
was said, from the pulpits and elsewhere, about the word of a King
which was never broken, by credulous people who little supposed
that he had formed a secret council for Catholic affairs, of which
a mischievous Jesuit, called FATHER PETRE, was one of the chief
members. With tears of joy in his eyes, he received, as the
beginning of HIS pension from the King of France, five hundred
thousand livres; yet, with a mixture of meanness and arrogance that
belonged to his contemptible character, he was always jealous of
making some show of being independent of the King of France, while
he pocketed his money. As - notwithstanding his publishing two
papers in favour of Popery (and not likely to do it much service, I
should think) written by the King, his brother, and found in his
strong-box; and his open display of himself attending mass - the
Parliament was very obsequious, and granted him a large sum of
money, he began his reign with a belief that he could do what he
pleased, and with a determination to do it.

Before we proceed to its principal events, let us dispose of Titus
Oates. He was tried for perjury, a fortnight after the coronation,
and besides being very heavily fined, was sentenced to stand twice
in the pillory, to be whipped from Aldgate to Newgate one day, and
from Newgate to Tyburn two days afterwards, and to stand in the
pillory five times a year as long as he lived. This fearful
sentence was actually inflicted on the rascal. Being unable to
stand after his first flogging, he was dragged on a sledge from
Newgate to Tyburn, and flogged as he was drawn along. He was so
strong a villain that he did not die under the torture, but lived
to be afterwards pardoned and rewarded, though not to be ever
believed in any more. Dangerfield, the only other one of that crew
left alive, was not so fortunate. He was almost killed by a
whipping from Newgate to Tyburn, and, as if that were not
punishment enough, a ferocious barrister of Gray's Inn gave him a
poke in the eye with his cane, which caused his death; for which
the ferocious barrister was deservedly tried and executed.

As soon as James was on the throne, Argyle and Monmouth went from
Brussels to Rotterdam, and attended a meeting of Scottish exiles
held there, to concert measures for a rising in England. It was
agreed that Argyle should effect a landing in Scotland, and
Monmouth in England; and that two Englishmen should be sent with
Argyle to be in his confidence, and two Scotchmen with the Duke of
Monmouth.

Argyle was the first to act upon this contract. But, two of his
men being taken prisoners at the Orkney Islands, the Government
became aware of his intention, and was able to act against him with
such vigour as to prevent his raising more than two or three
thousand Highlanders, although he sent a fiery cross, by trusty
messengers, from clan to clan and from glen to glen, as the custom
then was when those wild people were to be excited by their chiefs.
As he was moving towards Glasgow with his small force, he was
betrayed by some of his followers, taken, and carried, with his
hands tied behind his back, to his old prison in Edinburgh Castle.
James ordered him to be executed, on his old shamefully unjust
sentence, within three days; and he appears to have been anxious
that his legs should have been pounded with his old favourite the
boot. However, the boot was not applied; he was simply beheaded,
and his head was set upon the top of Edinburgh Jail. One of those
Englishmen who had been assigned to him was that old soldier
Rumbold, the master of the Rye House. He was sorely wounded, and
within a week after Argyle had suffered with great courage, was
brought up for trial, lest he should die and disappoint the King.
He, too, was executed, after defending himself with great spirit,
and saying that he did not believe that God had made the greater
part of mankind to carry saddles on their backs and bridles in
their mouths, and to be ridden by a few, booted and spurred for the
purpose - in which I thoroughly agree with Rumbold.

The Duke of Monmouth, partly through being detained and partly
through idling his time away, was five or six weeks behind his
friend when he landed at Lyme, in Dorset: having at his right hand
an unlucky nobleman called LORD GREY OF WERK, who of himself would
have ruined a far more promising expedition. He immediately set up
his standard in the market-place, and proclaimed the King a tyrant,
and a Popish usurper, and I know not what else; charging him, not
only with what he had done, which was bad enough, but with what
neither he nor anybody else had done, such as setting fire to
London, and poisoning the late King. Raising some four thousand
men by these means, he marched on to Taunton, where there were many
Protestant dissenters who were strongly opposed to the Catholics.
Here, both the rich and poor turned out to receive him, ladies
waved a welcome to him from all the windows as he passed along the
streets, flowers were strewn in his way, and every compliment and
honour that could be devised was showered upon him. Among the
rest, twenty young ladies came forward, in their best clothes, and
in their brightest beauty, and gave him a Bible ornamented with
their own fair hands, together with other presents.

Encouraged by this homage, he proclaimed himself King, and went on
to Bridgewater. But, here the Government troops, under the EARL OF
FEVERSHAM, were close at hand; and he was so dispirited at finding
that he made but few powerful friends after all, that it was a
question whether he should disband his army and endeavour to
escape. It was resolved, at the instance of that unlucky Lord
Grey, to make a night attack on the King's army, as it lay encamped
on the edge of a morass called Sedgemoor. The horsemen were
commanded by the same unlucky lord, who was not a brave man. He
gave up the battle almost at the first obstacle - which was a deep
drain; and although the poor countrymen, who had turned out for
Monmouth, fought bravely with scythes, poles, pitchforks, and such
poor weapons as they had, they were soon dispersed by the trained
soldiers, and fled in all directions. When the Duke of Monmouth
himself fled, was not known in the confusion; but the unlucky Lord
Grey was taken early next day, and then another of the party was
taken, who confessed that he had parted from the Duke only four
hours before. Strict search being made, he was found disguised as
a peasant, hidden in a ditch under fern and nettles, with a few
peas in his pocket which he had gathered in the fields to eat. The
only other articles he had upon him were a few papers and little
books: one of the latter being a strange jumble, in his own
writing, of charms, songs, recipes, and prayers. He was completely
broken. He wrote a miserable letter to the King, beseeching and
entreating to be allowed to see him. When he was taken to London,
and conveyed bound into the King's presence, he crawled to him on
his knees, and made a most degrading exhibition. As James never
forgave or relented towards anybody, he was not likely to soften
towards the issuer of the Lyme proclamation, so he told the
suppliant to prepare for death.

On the fifteenth of July, one thousand six hundred and eighty-five,
this unfortunate favourite of the people was brought out to die on
Tower Hill. The crowd was immense, and the tops of all the houses
were covered with gazers. He had seen his wife, the daughter of
the Duke of Buccleuch, in the Tower, and had talked much of a lady
whom he loved far better - the LADY HARRIET WENTWORTH - who was one
of the last persons he remembered in this life. Before laying down
his head upon the block he felt the edge of the axe, and told the
executioner that he feared it was not sharp enough, and that the
axe was not heavy enough. On the executioner replying that it was
of the proper kind, the Duke said, 'I pray you have a care, and do
not use me so awkwardly as you used my Lord Russell.' The
executioner, made nervous by this, and trembling, struck once and
merely gashed him in the neck. Upon this, the Duke of Monmouth
raised his head and looked the man reproachfully in the face. Then
he struck twice, and then thrice, and then threw down the axe, and
cried out in a voice of horror that he could not finish that work.
The sheriffs, however, threatening him with what should be done to
himself if he did not, he took it up again and struck a fourth time
and a fifth time. Then the wretched head at last fell off, and
James, Duke of Monmouth, was dead, in the thirty-sixth year of his
age. He was a showy, graceful man, with many popular qualities,
and had found much favour in the open hearts of the English.

The atrocities, committed by the Government, which followed this
Monmouth rebellion, form the blackest and most lamentable page in
English history. The poor peasants, having been dispersed with
great loss, and their leaders having been taken, one would think
that the implacable King might have been satisfied. But no; he let
loose upon them, among other intolerable monsters, a COLONEL KIRK,
who had served against the Moors, and whose soldiers - called by
the people Kirk's lambs, because they bore a lamb upon their flag,
as the emblem of Christianity - were worthy of their leader. The
atrocities committed by these demons in human shape are far too
horrible to be related here. It is enough to say, that besides
most ruthlessly murdering and robbing them, and ruining them by
making them buy their pardons at the price of all they possessed,
it was one of Kirk's favourite amusements, as he and his officers
sat drinking after dinner, and toasting the King, to have batches
of prisoners hanged outside the windows for the company's
diversion; and that when their feet quivered in the convulsions of
death, he used to swear that they should have music to their
dancing, and would order the drums to beat and the trumpets to
play. The detestable King informed him, as an acknowledgment of
these services, that he was 'very well satisfied with his
proceedings.' But the King's great delight was in the proceedings
of Jeffreys, now a peer, who went down into the west, with four
other judges, to try persons accused of having had any share in the
rebellion. The King pleasantly called this 'Jeffreys's campaign.'
The people down in that part of the country remember it to this day
as The Bloody Assize.

It began at Winchester, where a poor deaf old lady, MRS. ALICIA
LISLE, the widow of one of the judges of Charles the First (who had
been murdered abroad by some Royalist assassins), was charged with
having given shelter in her house to two fugitives from Sedgemoor.
Three times the jury refused to find her guilty, until Jeffreys
bullied and frightened them into that false verdict. When he had
extorted it from them, he said, 'Gentlemen, if I had been one of
you, and she had been my own mother, I would have found her
guilty;' - as I dare say he would. He sentenced her to be burned
alive, that very afternoon. The clergy of the cathedral and some
others interfered in her favour, and she was beheaded within a
week. As a high mark of his approbation, the King made Jeffreys
Lord Chancellor; and he then went on to Dorchester, to Exeter, to
Taunton, and to Wells. It is astonishing, when we read of the
enormous injustice and barbarity of this beast, to know that no one
struck him dead on the judgment-seat. It was enough for any man or
woman to be accused by an enemy, before Jeffreys, to be found
guilty of high treason. One man who pleaded not guilty, he ordered
to be taken out of court upon the instant, and hanged; and this so
terrified the prisoners in general that they mostly pleaded guilty
at once. At Dorchester alone, in the course of a few days,
Jeffreys hanged eighty people; besides whipping, transporting,
imprisoning, and selling as slaves, great numbers. He executed, in
all, two hundred and fifty, or three hundred.

These executions took place, among the neighbours and friends of
the sentenced, in thirty-six towns and villages. Their bodies were
mangled, steeped in caldrons of boiling pitch and tar, and hung up
by the roadsides, in the streets, over the very churches. The
sight and smell of heads and limbs, the hissing and bubbling of the
infernal caldrons, and the tears and terrors of the people, were
dreadful beyond all description. One rustic, who was forced to
steep the remains in the black pot, was ever afterwards called 'Tom
Boilman.' The hangman has ever since been called Jack Ketch,
because a man of that name went hanging and hanging, all day long,
in the train of Jeffreys. You will hear much of the horrors of the
great French Revolution. Many and terrible they were, there is no
doubt; but I know of nothing worse, done by the maddened people of
France in that awful time, than was done by the highest judge in
England, with the express approval of the King of England, in The
Bloody Assize.

Nor was even this all. Jeffreys was as fond of money for himself
as of misery for others, and he sold pardons wholesale to fill his
pockets. The King ordered, at one time, a thousand prisoners to be
given to certain of his favourites, in order that they might
bargain with them for their pardons. The young ladies of Taunton
who had presented the Bible, were bestowed upon the maids of honour
at court; and those precious ladies made very hard bargains with
them indeed. When The Bloody Assize was at its most dismal height,
the King was diverting himself with horse-races in the very place
where Mrs. Lisle had been executed. When Jeffreys had done his
worst, and came home again, he was particularly complimented in the
Royal Gazette; and when the King heard that through drunkenness and
raging he was very ill, his odious Majesty remarked that such
another man could not easily be found in England. Besides all
this, a former sheriff of London, named CORNISH, was hanged within
sight of his own house, after an abominably conducted trial, for
having had a share in the Rye House Plot, on evidence given by
Rumsey, which that villain was obliged to confess was directly
opposed to the evidence he had given on the trial of Lord Russell.
And on the very same day, a worthy widow, named ELIZABETH GAUNT,
was burned alive at Tyburn, for having sheltered a wretch who
himself gave evidence against her. She settled the fuel about
herself with her own hands, so that the flames should reach her
quickly: and nobly said, with her last breath, that she had obeyed
the sacred command of God, to give refuge to the outcast, and not
to betray the wanderer.

After all this hanging, beheading, burning, boiling, mutilating,
exposing, robbing, transporting, and selling into slavery, of his
unhappy subjects, the King not unnaturally thought that he could do
whatever he would. So, he went to work to change the religion of
the country with all possible speed; and what he did was this.

He first of all tried to get rid of what was called the Test Act -
which prevented the Catholics from holding public employments - by
his own power of dispensing with the penalties. He tried it in one
case, and, eleven of the twelve judges deciding in his favour, he
exercised it in three others, being those of three dignitaries of
University College, Oxford, who had become Papists, and whom he
kept in their places and sanctioned. He revived the hated
Ecclesiastical Commission, to get rid of COMPTON, Bishop of London,
who manfully opposed him. He solicited the Pope to favour England
with an ambassador, which the Pope (who was a sensible man then)
rather unwillingly did. He flourished Father Petre before the eyes
of the people on all possible occasions. He favoured the
establishment of convents in several parts of London. He was
delighted to have the streets, and even the court itself, filled
with Monks and Friars in the habits of their orders. He constantly
endeavoured to make Catholics of the Protestants about him. He
held private interviews, which he called 'closetings,' with those
Members of Parliament who held offices, to persuade them to consent
to the design he had in view. When they did not consent, they were
removed, or resigned of themselves, and their places were given to
Catholics. He displaced Protestant officers from the army, by
every means in his power, and got Catholics into their places too.
He tried the same thing with the corporations, and also (though not
so successfully) with the Lord Lieutenants of counties. To terrify
the people into the endurance of all these measures, he kept an
army of fifteen thousand men encamped on Hounslow Heath, where mass
was openly performed in the General's tent, and where priests went
among the soldiers endeavouring to persuade them to become
Catholics. For circulating a paper among those men advising them
to be true to their religion, a Protestant clergyman, named
JOHNSON, the chaplain of the late Lord Russell, was actually
sentenced to stand three times in the pillory, and was actually
whipped from Newgate to Tyburn. He dismissed his own brother-in-
law from his Council because he was a Protestant, and made a Privy
Councillor of the before-mentioned Father Petre. He handed Ireland
over to RICHARD TALBOT, EARL OF TYRCONNELL, a worthless, dissolute
knave, who played the same game there for his master, and who
played the deeper game for himself of one day putting it under the
protection of the French King. In going to these extremities,
every man of sense and judgment among the Catholics, from the Pope
to a porter, knew that the King was a mere bigoted fool, who would
undo himself and the cause he sought to advance; but he was deaf to
all reason, and, happily for England ever afterwards, went tumbling
off his throne in his own blind way.

A spirit began to arise in the country, which the besotted
blunderer little expected. He first found it out in the University
of Cambridge. Having made a Catholic a dean at Oxford without any
opposition, he tried to make a monk a master of arts at Cambridge:
which attempt the University resisted, and defeated him. He then
went back to his favourite Oxford. On the death of the President
of Magdalen College, he commanded that there should be elected to
succeed him, one MR. ANTHONY FARMER, whose only recommendation was,
that he was of the King's religion. The University plucked up
courage at last, and refused. The King substituted another man,
and it still refused, resolving to stand by its own election of a
MR. HOUGH. The dull tyrant, upon this, punished Mr. Hough, and
five-and-twenty more, by causing them to be expelled and declared
incapable of holding any church preferment; then he proceeded to
what he supposed to be his highest step, but to what was, in fact,
his last plunge head-foremost in his tumble off his throne.

He had issued a declaration that there should be no religious tests
or penal laws, in order to let in the Catholics more easily; but
the Protestant dissenters, unmindful of themselves, had gallantly
joined the regular church in opposing it tooth and nail. The King
and Father Petre now resolved to have this read, on a certain
Sunday, in all the churches, and to order it to be circulated for
that purpose by the bishops. The latter took counsel with the
Archbishop of Canterbury, who was in disgrace; and they resolved
that the declaration should not be read, and that they would
petition the King against it. The Archbishop himself wrote out the
petition, and six bishops went into the King's bedchamber the same
night to present it, to his infinite astonishment. Next day was
the Sunday fixed for the reading, and it was only read by two
hundred clergymen out of ten thousand. The King resolved against
all advice to prosecute the bishops in the Court of King's Bench,
and within three weeks they were summoned before the Privy Council,
and committed to the Tower. As the six bishops were taken to that
dismal place, by water, the people who were assembled in immense
numbers fell upon their knees, and wept for them, and prayed for
them. When they got to the Tower, the officers and soldiers on
guard besought them for their blessing. While they were confined
there, the soldiers every day drank to their release with loud
shouts. When they were brought up to the Court of King's Bench for
their trial, which the Attorney-General said was for the high
offence of censuring the Government, and giving their opinion about
affairs of state, they were attended by similar multitudes, and
surrounded by a throng of noblemen and gentlemen. When the jury
went out at seven o'clock at night to consider of their verdict,
everybody (except the King) knew that they would rather starve than
yield to the King's brewer, who was one of them, and wanted a
verdict for his customer. When they came into court next morning,
after resisting the brewer all night, and gave a verdict of not
guilty, such a shout rose up in Westminster Hall as it had never
heard before; and it was passed on among the people away to Temple
Bar, and away again to the Tower. It did not pass only to the
east, but passed to the west too, until it reached the camp at
Hounslow, where the fifteen thousand soldiers took it up and echoed
it. And still, when the dull King, who was then with Lord
Feversham, heard the mighty roar, asked in alarm what it was, and
was told that it was 'nothing but the acquittal of the bishops,' he
said, in his dogged way, 'Call you that nothing? It is so much the
worse for them.'

Between the petition and the trial, the Queen had given birth to a
son, which Father Petre rather thought was owing to Saint Winifred.
But I doubt if Saint Winifred had much to do with it as the King's
friend, inasmuch as the entirely new prospect of a Catholic
successor (for both the King's daughters were Protestants)
determined the EARLS OF SHREWSBURY, DANBY, and DEVONSHIRE, LORD
LUMLEY, the BISHOP OF LONDON, ADMIRAL RUSSELL, and COLONEL SIDNEY,
to invite the Prince of Orange over to England. The Royal Mole,
seeing his danger at last, made, in his fright, many great
concessions, besides raising an army of forty thousand men; but the
Prince of Orange was not a man for James the Second to cope with.
His preparations were extraordinarily vigorous, and his mind was
resolved.

For a fortnight after the Prince was ready to sail for England, a
great wind from the west prevented the departure of his fleet.
Even when the wind lulled, and it did sail, it was dispersed by a
storm, and was obliged to put back to refit. At last, on the first
of November, one thousand six hundred and eighty-eight, the
Protestant east wind, as it was long called, began to blow; and on
the third, the people of Dover and the people of Calais saw a fleet
twenty miles long sailing gallantly by, between the two places. On
Monday, the fifth, it anchored at Torbay in Devonshire, and the
Prince, with a splendid retinue of officers and men, marched into
Exeter. But the people in that western part of the country had
suffered so much in The Bloody Assize, that they had lost heart.
Few people joined him; and he began to think of returning, and
publishing the invitation he had received from those lords, as his
justification for having come at all. At this crisis, some of the
gentry joined him; the Royal army began to falter; an engagement
was signed, by which all who set their hand to it declared that
they would support one another in defence of the laws and liberties
of the three Kingdoms, of the Protestant religion, and of the
Prince of Orange. From that time, the cause received no check; the
greatest towns in England began, one after another, to declare for
the Prince; and he knew that it was all safe with him when the
University of Oxford offered to melt down its plate, if he wanted
any money.

By this time the King was running about in a pitiable way, touching
people for the King's evil in one place, reviewing his troops in
another, and bleeding from the nose in a third. The young Prince
was sent to Portsmouth, Father Petre went off like a shot to
France, and there was a general and swift dispersal of all the
priests and friars. One after another, the King's most important
officers and friends deserted him and went over to the Prince. In
the night, his daughter Anne fled from Whitehall Palace; and the
Bishop of London, who had once been a soldier, rode before her with
a drawn sword in his hand, and pistols at his saddle. 'God help
me,' cried the miserable King: 'my very children have forsaken
me!' In his wildness, after debating with such lords as were in
London, whether he should or should not call a Parliament, and
after naming three of them to negotiate with the Prince, he
resolved to fly to France. He had the little Prince of Wales
brought back from Portsmouth; and the child and the Queen crossed
the river to Lambeth in an open boat, on a miserable wet night, and
got safely away. This was on the night of the ninth of December.

At one o'clock on the morning of the eleventh, the King, who had,
in the meantime, received a letter from the Prince of Orange,
stating his objects, got out of bed, told LORD NORTHUMBERLAND who
lay in his room not to open the door until the usual hour in the
morning, and went down the back stairs (the same, I suppose, by
which the priest in the wig and gown had come up to his brother)
and crossed the river in a small boat: sinking the great seal of
England by the way. Horses having been provided, he rode,
accompanied by SIR EDWARD HALES, to Feversham, where he embarked in
a Custom House Hoy. The master of this Hoy, wanting more ballast,
ran into the Isle of Sheppy to get it, where the fishermen and
smugglers crowded about the boat, and informed the King of their
suspicions that he was a 'hatchet-faced Jesuit.' As they took his
money and would not let him go, he told them who he was, and that
the Prince of Orange wanted to take his life; and he began to
scream for a boat - and then to cry, because he had lost a piece of
wood on his ride which he called a fragment of Our Saviour's cross.
He put himself into the hands of the Lord Lieutenant of the county,
and his detention was made known to the Prince of Orange at Windsor
- who, only wanting to get rid of him, and not caring where he
went, so that he went away, was very much disconcerted that they
did not let him go. However, there was nothing for it but to have
him brought back, with some state in the way of Life Guards, to
Whitehall. And as soon as he got there, in his infatuation, he
heard mass, and set a Jesuit to say grace at his public dinner.

The people had been thrown into the strangest state of confusion by
his flight, and had taken it into their heads that the Irish part
of the army were going to murder the Protestants. Therefore, they
set the bells a ringing, and lighted watch-fires, and burned
Catholic Chapels, and looked about in all directions for Father
Petre and the Jesuits, while the Pope's ambassador was running away
in the dress of a footman. They found no Jesuits; but a man, who
had once been a frightened witness before Jeffreys in court, saw a
swollen, drunken face looking through a window down at Wapping,
which he well remembered. The face was in a sailor's dress, but he
knew it to be the face of that accursed judge, and he seized him.
The people, to their lasting honour, did not tear him to pieces.
After knocking him about a little, they took him, in the basest
agonies of terror, to the Lord Mayor, who sent him, at his own
shrieking petition, to the Tower for safety. There, he died.

Their bewilderment continuing, the people now lighted bonfires and
made rejoicings, as if they had any reason to be glad to have the
King back again. But, his stay was very short, for the English
guards were removed from Whitehall, Dutch guards were marched up to
it, and he was told by one of his late ministers that the Prince
would enter London, next day, and he had better go to Ham. He
said, Ham was a cold, damp place, and he would rather go to
Rochester. He thought himself very cunning in this, as he meant to
escape from Rochester to France. The Prince of Orange and his
friends knew that, perfectly well, and desired nothing more. So,
he went to Gravesend, in his royal barge, attended by certain
lords, and watched by Dutch troops, and pitied by the generous
people, who were far more forgiving than he had ever been, when
they saw him in his humiliation. On the night of the twenty-third
of December, not even then understanding that everybody wanted to
get rid of him, he went out, absurdly, through his Rochester
garden, down to the Medway, and got away to France, where he
rejoined the Queen.

There had been a council in his absence, of the lords, and the
authorities of London. When the Prince came, on the day after the
King's departure, he summoned the Lords to meet him, and soon
afterwards, all those who had served in any of the Parliaments of
King Charles the Second. It was finally resolved by these
authorities that the throne was vacant by the conduct of King James
the Second; that it was inconsistent with the safety and welfare of
this Protestant kingdom, to be governed by a Popish prince; that
the Prince and Princess of Orange should be King and Queen during
their lives and the life of the survivor of them; and that their
children should succeed them, if they had any. That if they had
none, the Princess Anne and her children should succeed; that if
she had none, the heirs of the Prince of Orange should succeed.

On the thirteenth of January, one thousand six hundred and eighty-
nine, the Prince and Princess, sitting on a throne in Whitehall,
bound themselves to these conditions. The Protestant religion was
established in England, and England's great and glorious Revolution
was complete.

CHAPTER XXXVII

I HAVE now arrived at the close of my little history. The events
which succeeded the famous Revolution of one thousand six hundred
and eighty-eight, would neither be easily related nor easily
understood in such a book as this.

William and Mary reigned together, five years. After the death of
his good wife, William occupied the throne, alone, for seven years
longer. During his reign, on the sixteenth of September, one
thousand seven hundred and one, the poor weak creature who had once
been James the Second of England, died in France. In the meantime
he had done his utmost (which was not much) to cause William to be
assassinated, and to regain his lost dominions. James's son was
declared, by the French King, the rightful King of England; and was
called in France THE CHEVALIER SAINT GEORGE, and in England THE
PRETENDER. Some infatuated people in England, and particularly in
Scotland, took up the Pretender's cause from time to time - as if
the country had not had Stuarts enough! - and many lives were
sacrificed, and much misery was occasioned. King William died on
Sunday, the seventh of March, one thousand seven hundred and two,
of the consequences of an accident occasioned by his horse
stumbling with him. He was always a brave, patriotic Prince, and a
man of remarkable abilities. His manner was cold, and he made but
few friends; but he had truly loved his queen. When he was dead, a
lock of her hair, in a ring, was found tied with a black ribbon
round his left arm.

He was succeeded by the PRINCESS ANNE, a popular Queen, who reigned
twelve years. In her reign, in the month of May, one thousand
seven hundred and seven, the Union between England and Scotland was
effected, and the two countries were incorporated under the name of
GREAT BRITAIN. Then, from the year one thousand seven hundred and
fourteen to the year one thousand, eight hundred and thirty,
reigned the four GEORGES.

It was in the reign of George the Second, one thousand seven
hundred and forty-five, that the Pretender did his last mischief,
and made his last appearance. Being an old man by that time, he
and the Jacobites - as his friends were called - put forward his
son, CHARLES EDWARD, known as the young Chevalier. The Highlanders
of Scotland, an extremely troublesome and wrong-headed race on the
subject of the Stuarts, espoused his cause, and he joined them, and
there was a Scottish rebellion to make him king, in which many
gallant and devoted gentlemen lost their lives. It was a hard
matter for Charles Edward to escape abroad again, with a high price
on his head; but the Scottish people were extraordinarily faithful
to him, and, after undergoing many romantic adventures, not unlike
those of Charles the Second, he escaped to France. A number of
charming stories and delightful songs arose out of the Jacobite
feelings, and belong to the Jacobite times. Otherwise I think the
Stuarts were a public nuisance altogether.

It was in the reign of George the Third that England lost North
America, by persisting in taxing her without her own consent. That
immense country, made independent under WASHINGTON, and left to
itself, became the United States; one of the greatest nations of
the earth. In these times in which I write, it is honourably
remarkable for protecting its subjects, wherever they may travel,
with a dignity and a determination which is a model for England.
Between you and me, England has rather lost ground in this respect
since the days of Oliver Cromwell.

The Union of Great Britain with Ireland - which had been getting on
very ill by itself - took place in the reign of George the Third,
on the second of July, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-eight.

WILLIAM THE FOURTH succeeded George the Fourth, in the year one
thousand eight hundred and thirty, and reigned seven years. QUEEN
VICTORIA, his niece, the only child of the Duke of Kent, the fourth
son of George the Third, came to the throne on the twentieth of
June, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-seven. She was married
to PRINCE ALBERT of Saxe Gotha on the tenth of February, one
thousand eight hundred and forty. She is very good, and much
beloved. So I end, like the crier, with

GOD SAVE THE QUEEN!

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