Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Majesty was pleased to declare at the board, that whereas in contemplation of the eminent services heretofore done to his Majesty by most of those persons who were engaged in the late duel or rencontre, wherein William Jenkins was killed, -he doth graciously pardon the said offence; nevertheless, he is resolved from henceforth, that upon no pretence whatsoever, any pardon shall be hereafter granted to any person

whatsoever for killing of any man, in any duel or rencontre, but that the course of law shall wholly take place in all such cases; and his Majesty was pleased to command, that this his solemn declaration should be entered in the council book, and that public notice of it be likewise hereby given, that no person may for the future pretend ignorance thereof."

One of the methods adopted by the monarch after his restoration to reward those loyal and necessitous officers who resided within the bills of mortality, and had served Charles I. and himself with fidelity, in the most discouraging periods of the interregnum, was the granting them one for more Plate lotteries, by which is to be understood a gift of plate from the crown, and permission to sell tickets: the former to serve as the prizes. In the month of April 1669, Charles II., the duke of York, and many of the nobility, were present, says the Gazette," at the grand Plate lottery, which, by his Majesty's command, was

then

then opened at the sign of the Mermaid, over against the Mews.” This was the origin of the endless schemes to be noticed hereafter under the titles of Royal Oak, Twelve-penny lotteries, &c.; but their introduction will be still farther illustrated by an intimation published soon after in these words : “ This is to give notice, that any persons who are desirous to farm any of the counties within the kingdom of England or dominion of Wales, in order to the setting up of a Plate lottery, or any other lottery whatsoever, may repair to the Lottery-office, at Mr. Philips's house, in Mermaid-court, over against the Mews, where they may contract with the trustees commissioned by his Majesty's letters patent for the management of the said patent, on the belialf of the truly loyal indigent officers."

If extreme villainy and undaunted courage in the breasts of a few individuals of a community form a portion of general manners in the indulgence of depraved passions, it would be inexcusable to omit Blood's attempt to steal the crown of England. Viewing it as a most extraordinary event, I shall present it to the reader from the most authentic source, the London Gazette :

Whitehall, May 9, 1671. This morning, about seven of the clock, four men coming to Mr. Edwards, keeper of the jewel-house in the Tower, desired to see the regal crown remaining in his

custody;

.

custody; he carries them into the room where they were kept, and shows them; but according to the villanous design they, it seems, came upon, immediately they clap a gag of a strange form into the old man's mouth ; who making what noise and resistance he could, they stabbed him a deep wound in the belly with a stiletto, adding several other dangerous wounds on the head with a small beetle they had with them, as is believed, to beat together and flatten the crown, to make it the more easily portable; which having, together with the ball, put into bags they had to that purpose brought with them, they fairly walked out, leaving the old man groaveling on the ground, gagged and pinnioned; thus they passed by all the sentinels, till, in the mean time, the son-inlaw of Mr. Edwards, casually passing by, and hearing the door shut, and some bustle, went in to look what it might be, where he found his old father in the miserable condition they had left him; whereupon running out in all hast, and crying to stop the authors of this horrid villany, the persons began to hasten more than ordinary; which the last sentinel perceiving, and hearing the noise, bid them stand; but, instead of standing to give an account of themselves, one of them fires a pistol at the sentinel, and he his musket at them ; which gave the alarm so as, with the pursuit of Mr. Edward's son-in-law, two of the maJefactors were immediately seised; two more, with

another

another that held their horses without the Tower gate, escaped: with the two that were taken were found the crown and ball, only some few stones missing, which had been loosened in the beating the crown, together 'with the mallet or beetle spoken of.

“ These two being brought down to Whitehall, by his Majesties command, one of them proves to be Blood, that notorious traytor and incent diary, who was outlawed for the rebellion in Ire: land, eight years ago; and the other was one Perrot, a dyer in Thames Street. Within two hours after, a third was apprehended, as he was escaping on horseback, who proves to be Thomas Hunt, mentioned in his Majesties proclamation for the discovering of the persons who some time since committed that horrid attempt upon

his grace the Duke of Ormond, but is indeed son to . the said Blood; who, with great impudency, confesses, that they two were, with seven others, in that action. They are all three sent close prisoners to the Tower for the present."

“ Proteus Redivivus, the Art of Wheedling," a little work written in the reign of Charles Ili, describes, amongst other characters, the genteel Town-shift; a term apparently derived from the habit those persons had of frequently changing their quarters to promote their designs, who were also called Wheedles, Bullies, Huffs, Rooks, Pads, Pimpinios, Guarde Lupanie, Philo-Put

tonisis,

tonists, Ruffins, Shabbaroons, and Subtlers. It is said by the author, that the persons under consideration were generally younger sons of good and opulent families, “ whom their fathers dealt withal as Pharaoh with the children of Israel, that expected they should make brick, and gave them no straw: so he makes him live at home as a gentleman, and leaves him nothing to maintain it. He hates, with the Irishmen, that his son should be a tradesman, for fear of murdering his gentility; and yet never thinks that, after his decease, the gentleman must be converted into a serving-man; and it is well if it be no worse: so that the pride of his house hath undone him."

By some means or other the Town-shift was accustomed to make his way into France, whence he returned, plentifully provided with à-la-mode shrugs, cringes, and ridiculously antic fashions, and profiting by observation on men and manners, collected by making every public place his exchange, he found himself capable of undertaking the full exercise of his profession-one object of which was the procuring of changes of dress, by application to the different members of his family under various pretences; or to some vain and rich female, through the medium of a copy of verses that would have been laid at her feet in person, had not the parsimony of his family, or the inconveniences of recent travelling, made his garb unfit for inspection. If this failed, the last resort

was

« ZurückWeiter »