Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

South Sea Project took Effect, which run up tha Stock to above a thousand per Centa and ruined so many Families, that the Lamentation was general, almost all Degrees of People were engaged; the Courtiers, moft Perfons of Quality, Gentlemen, Merchants, Tradesmen, Artizans, even common Servants, who almoft all suffered, except a few, who wereibehirtd the Curtain and in the Secret. Mr. Pope was a great Enemy to the Scheme, and then and fince has sufficiently shewn how he detefted the Contrivers of it, and pitied the Sufferers, among which were fome of his great Friends, 'publick Enquiry was made after fome of the Promotersof it, but the Iniquity was fix'd where the Search did not reach, and the Wrong was without Reparation.

In this Calamity was funk for a Time the very Spirit of the Nation, and Arts feem'd to stand still ; the Gentry were impoverished, and only a few confederate Villains, and thofe favoured by them, made any tolerable Figure, Families of dejected Faces, that were a Month before bleft with a Train of Domesticks and shining Equipages, were feen on Foot fighing through the publick Streets : This Mr. Pape thought once to have made the Subject of a particus lar Satire, and certainly he had wanted nothing to whet the Edge of it, but fo many of the little common Writers laid hold of it, induc'd by Hunger and Request of Friends, that Mr. Pope left it to them, only occasionally in the Course of his Writing, giving now and then a Lash, to let the World know he was neither A&or nor Abettor of any such Wickedness and Folly; which on Reflection looks more like Fafcination and epidemical Madness, than the voluntary Act of a great and free People, after having had the Example of France to warn them.

It

S4

[ocr errors]

It was now when the Minds of the People were much dejected, that the Papifts endeavoured to leftablifh once more, if posible, the Romift Religion, and accordingly from divers. Parts: of Italy and France, under different Covers and Pretensions came flocking, regular Priests, Dominicans, Carmelitans, Francif. cans, and some Jefuits, and Notice was taken that there were many of our reform’d Church daily perverted, the Infection spread much among the lower Sort of People, for those misfionary Priests had a Fund of Money sufficient to put a Youth out

Apprentice to any Artizan who was of the Romiß Faith, on Condition that he should conftantly adhere to the Mass, and they likewise lent Money to young Men just out of their Apprenticeships, Sums not exsceeding twenty Pounds, to set up with, as well as that they paidsmall Debts, not exceeding half that Sum, for Persons involv'd, still on the Terms of renouncing the Religion here by Law establish'd, and embracing the Sacrament of Transubftantiation, and fince that Time, the Number of Papists in England

has increas'd considerably, but we dare be perswaded, notwithstanding this, to say what a certain great Prelate of Canterbury positively pronounced on bis Death-bed, that Popery should never darken this Natian any more, 1 indeed his own Writings remain a trong Preservative against it.

Many of the abovementioned Missionaries or E· miffaries, which you please to call them, made themselves known to Mr. Pope, who was wiser than to have any Hand in the Affair, and told them, that they were breaking the Laws of this Land, and re2 fisting the higher Powers, which St. Paul had ex

prefly forbid, as well as broke their religious Vows, to all which they pleaded a Dispensation from Rome, which is a Salvo for any Thing, they even went fo

far

[ocr errors]

far as to tempo him t) retire abroad, and become a Prieft, giving him frequent Promises of great ecclefiaftical Dignities ;\ but the most that ever we know was gain'd from him was once to say, that if his Religion had been the common Religion of England, he would have been in holy Orders; so that had it not been for the Revolution which happened the very Year he was born, instead of having the Life of a great Poet to write, we had in all Probability, had that of a Bishop, or fome mitred Abbot.

But the Nation had been long uneasy, even in some former Reigns, with Fears of Popery and arbitrary Power; and then many of the very Court and Council appear'd unsatisfy'd on that Account. Some were vex'd also for two other Reasons; the great Diminution of their Salaries by the ill-tim'd Retrenchments of the Treasury, and their finding all the Power and Favour ingrofs'd by a few, and those. also the foolishest of all the Roman Party.

But a more dangerous Symptom of the future Change, was a Desertion among the Officers of King James's Army, and at last of the Lord Churchill himself, tho' a Kind of Favourite,

Yet all this was nothing in Comparison of the Princess's withdrawing herself from Court by Night, without any Servants, except the Lady Churchill and Mrs. Berkly, conducted by the Bishop of London, whose late Disgrace at Court had help'd him to a reverential Sort of Popularity, which he, of all the Bishops, would least have found otherwise.

'Tis no Wonder after this, if the King began to mistrust every Body; which made him on a sudden leave his Army at Salisbury, in order to consider his Condition more fecurely at London. In quitting his Army thus suddenly, the King was thought too fufpicious and precipitate: But he had just before err'd

as

as much by his Dilatorinefs, as he did now by his Hafte; for when the Lord Churchill deferted him at Salisbury, he sent Orders immediately to feize all his Papers at Whitehall, before he had fécur'd either his Lady or the Princefs; which was only frightening the one and difobliging the other.

When the King was return’d from Salisbury, his Council was reduc'd within a very narrow Compass ; and, fmce he ever before thought no Body entirely in his Interest, except they were of his Religion alfo, at this fufpicious Time he confulted with a few Papifts only; who unanimously advis'd him to fly, because they might hope to keep an Interest with him remaining in France, whither they were now fore'd to escape themselves. 1. The King, however, refolv'd to try one Remedy firft, or at least by that to disguise his intended Flight the better; and therefore summoned all the Peers in Town to a kind of general Council in Whitehall; at which some of the Bishops, as well as temporal Lords, opend their Grievances fo boldly, that he condefcended to send two of them, viz. the Marquis of Hallifax and the Earl of Nottingham, as his Commiffioners to the

Prince of Orange; joining the Lord Godolphin with them, who was the only Man that had the Cunning, or else thé good Fortune, to be at once in some Favour with both the King and Prince of Orange.

In the mean Time he sent away the Queen in alf Hafte and Privacy, under the Conduct of Monf. de Lauzun, who took with her him who is now calld the Chevalier de St. George.

Just as he was stepping into Bed, the Night before his going away, the Earl of Mulgrave happened to come into the Bed-chamber; which being at fo late an Hour, might possibly give the King fome Appre

henfion

hension of that Lord's fuspecting his Design, wich which he was resolv'd not to trust him, nor any o. ther Protestant whatsoever : He therefore stopp?d short, and turn’d about to whisper him in the Ear, that his Commissioners had newly sent him a very hopeful Account of some good Accommodation with the Prince of Orange; to which that Lord only reply'd with a Question, asking him if the Prince's Army halted, or approach'd nearer to London ? The King own’d they ftill march'd on, at which the other Thook his Head and said no more ; only made him a low Bow with a dejected Countenance, humbly to make him understand, that he gave no Credit to what the King's Circumstances at that Time oblig'? him to dissemble.

Thus reserv'd was the King to every Body about his withdrawing himself. The mysterious Carriage of this absconding cost the Lord Chancellor Jefferies his Life, (a Thing indeed of little Value to any Body besides himself) who died afterward in Prison, for Want of having the fame Warning given him to elcape, which had been

given to the Earl of Melford and Father Peters. The Nuntio also escaped very narrowly, after having stol'n away to Gravesend behind the Coach of an Envoy of Savoy.

But to return to the King. At Three o'Clock in the Morning he withdrew himself by a back Way out of the Bed-chamber, commanding the Duke of Nore thumberland (whom he left there on a Pallet Bed, according to the Custom of his Place of Gentleman of the Bed-chamber in Waiting not to open the Door before his usual Hour of rising; at which Time several Persons of Quality, according to Custom, being come to attend him at his Levee, divulg'd the News immediately of his being gone away.

From Marco

« ZurückWeiter »