Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub
[graphic]

ing been committed by the House of Commons for misdemeanors in the Admiralty when he was Secretary; I believe he was unjustly charged.1 Here I saluted my Lords Stafford and Petre, who were committed for the Popish plot.

7th June. I saw the magnificent cavalcade and entry of the Portugal ambassador.

17th. I was godfather to a son of Sir Christopher "Wren, surveyor of his Majesty's buildings, that most excellent and learned person, with Sir William Termor, and my Lady Viscountess Newport, wife of the Treasurer of the Household.

Thence to Chelsea, to Sir Stephen Fox, and my lady, in order to the purchase of the 'Countess of Bristol's house there, which she desired me to procure a chapman for.

19th. I dined at Sir Robert Clayton's with Sir Robert Viner,* the great banker.

22nd. There were now divers Jesuits executed about the plot, and a rebellion in Scotland of the fanatics, so that there was a sad prospect of public affairs.

25th. The new Commissioners of the Admiralty came to visit me, viz., Sir Henry Capell, brother to the Earl of Essex, Mr. Finch, eldest son to the Lord Chancellor, Sir Humphry Winch, Sir Thomas Meeres, Mr. Hales, with some of the Commissioners of the Navy. I went with them to London.

1st July. I dined at Sir William Godolphin's, and with that learned gentleman went to take the air in Hyde-Park, where was a glorious cortege.

1 Pepys was concerned in a contested election in 1684, and his opponent having accused him of being a Papist, the House of Commons proceeded to make inquiry into the charge, but failed in the proof. By Grey's Debates (vol. vii. 303—15), it would seem that another accusation brought against Pepys was the having sent information to the French court of the state of the English Navy—a charge which has been properly scouted as incredible. See Lord Braybrooke's last edition of Pepys's Diary, published by Mr. Holm, vol. i. pp. xiii—nvi.

* A very wealthy banker, whom Pepys describes as Urine in great state at Swakely House, Ickenham, Middlesex. When Lord Mayor, he entertained Charles II. at Guildhall; and on his Majesty retiring, urged him to "return and take t'other bottle." He was created a Baronet. The crown was indebted to Sir Robert Vincr, at the shutting of the Kxchequer, nearly half a million of money, for which he was awarded -5.000V. Hi. id. per annum, out of the excise.

[ocr errors]

138 DIART OF LOKDO»,

3rd July. Sending a piece of venison to Mr. Pepys, still a prisoner, I went and dined with him.

6th. Now were there papers, speeches, and libels, publicly cried in the streets against the Dukes of York and Lauderdale, &c., obnoxious to the Parliament, with too much and indeed too shameful a liberty; but the people and Parliament had gotten head by reason of the vices of the great ones.

There was now brought up to London a child, son of one Mr. Wotton,1 formerly amanuensis to Dr. Andrews, Bishop

1 The Rev. Henry Wotton, minister of Wrentham, in Suffolk. This son vraa afterwards the celebrated William Wotton, the friend and defender of Dr. Bentley, and the antagonist of Sir William Temple, in the great Controversy about Ancient and Modern Learning. His early and extraordinary proficiency in letters, and general knowledge of every kind, was commemorated by his father in a pamphlet " On the Education of Children," addressed to King Charles II., and reprinted in 1753, with the attestations of several learned men who had examined him, to the truth of his uncommon abilities and wonderful acquisitions in the different languages, both ancient and modern. Nevertheless these eminent qualifications did not advance him in the line of his profession beyond a Fellowship at Cambridge, and the country parsonage of Milton, in Buckinghamshire, which was given him by the Karl of Nottingham, to whom he had been chaplain. Sir Philip Skippon, who lived at Wrentham, in Suffolk, in a letter to Mr. John Bay, Sept . 18, 1671, writes: "I shall somewhat surprise you with what I have seen in a little boy, William Wotton, five years old last month, son of Mr. Wotton, minister of this parish, who bath instructed his child within the last three quarters of a year in the reading the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages, which he can read almost as well as English, and that tongue he could read at four years and three months old, as well as most lads of twice his age." Sir Philip left also a draft of a longer letter to Mr. Bay, in which he adds, " He is not yet able to parse any language but what he performs in turning the three learned tongues into English is done by strength of memory, so that he is ready to mistake when some words of different signification have near the same sound. Bis father hath taught him by no rules, but only uses his memory in remembering words."—He was admitted of Catherine Hall, Cambridge, April, 1676, some months before he was ten yean old. He took the degree of B.A. when only twelve years and five months old. Br. Burnet, Bishop of Sarnm, recommended him to Dr. Lloyd, Bishop of St. Asaph, who took him as an assistant in making a catalogue of his books, and carried him to St. Asaph, and gave him the sinecure of Llandrillo, in Denbighshire. Swift laughed at him, but this he drew upon himself by having attacked the author of the Tah of Tub. He published, M is well known, an answer to that great satire. He also of Winton, who both read and perfectly understood Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Arabic, Syriac, and most of the modern languages; disputed in divinity, law, and all the sciences; was skilful in uistory, both ecclesiastical and profane; in politics; in a word, so universally and solidly learned at eleven years of age, that he was looked on as a miracle. Dr. Lloyd, one of the most deep learned divines of this nation in all sorts of literature, with Dr. Burnet, who had severely examined him, came away astonished, and they told me they did not believe there had the like appeared in the world. He had only been instructed by his father, who being himself a learned person, confessed that his son knew all that he himself knew. But, what was more admirable than his vast memory, was his judgment and invention, he being tried with divers hard questions, which required maturity of thought and experience. He was also dexterous in chronology, antiquities, mathematics. In sum, an intellectTM universalis, beyond all that we read of Picus Mirandula, and other precocious wits, and yet withal a very humble child.

[graphic]
[graphic]

1ith July. I went to see how things stood at Parson's Green, my Lady Viscountess Mordaunt (now sick in Paris, whither she went for health) having made me a trustee for her children, an office I could not refuse to this most excellent, pious, and virtuous lady, my long acquaintance.

15th. I dined with Mr. Sidney Godolphin, now one of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury.

18M. I went early to the Old Bailey Sessions-house, to the famous trial of Sir George AVakeman, one of the Queen's physicians, and three Benedictine monks;1 the first (whom I was well acquainted with, and take to be a worthy gentleman abhorring such a fact) for intending to poison the King; the others as accomplices to carry on the plot, to subvert the government, and introduce Popery. The Bench was crowded with the Judges, Lord Mayor, Justices, and

compiled Memoir* of the Cathedral Churches of St. David and St. Asaph, which Browne Willis published. When very voune, he remembered almost the whole of any discourse he had heard, and on a certain occasion he repeated to Bishop Lloyd one of his own sermons. Ha died in 1726, aged 61, and was buried at Buxted, in Sussex.

1 William Marshal, William Burnley, and Jauie* Corker.—See State Trials, foL vol. ii. p. 918.

innumerable spectators. The chief accusers, Dr. Oates (as he called himself), and one Bedlow, a man of inferior note. Their testimonies were not so pregnant, and I fear much of it from hearsay, but swearing positively to some particulars, which drew suspicion upon their truth; nor did circumstances so agree, as to give either the Bench, or Jury, so entire satisfaction as was expected. After, therefore, a long and tedious trial of nine hours, the Jury brought them in not guilty, to the extraordinary triumph of the Papists, and without sufficient disadvantage and reflections on witnesses, especially Oates and Bedlow.

This was a happy day for the Lords in the Tower, who expecting their trial, had this gone against the prisoners at the bar, would all have been in the utmost hazard. For my part, I look on Oates as a vain, insolent man, puffed up with the favour of the Commons for having discovered something really true, more especially as detecting the dangerous intrigue of Coleman, proved out of his own letters, and of a general design which the Jesuited party of the Papists ever had and still have, to ruin the Church of England; but that he was trusted with those great 6ecrets he pretended, or had any solid ground for what he accused divers noblemen of, 1 nave many reasons to induce my contrary belief. That among so many commissions as he affirmed to have delivered to them from P. Oliva1 and the Pope,—he who made no scruple of owning all other papers, letters, and secrets, should not only not open any of those pretended commissions, but not so much as take any copy or witness of any one of them, is almost miraculous. But the commons (some leading persons I mean of them) had so exalted him, that they took all he said for Gospel,and without more ado ruined all whom he named to be conspirators; nor did he spare whoever came in his way. But indeed the murder of Sir Edmundbury Godfrey, suspected to Lave been compassed by the Jesuits' party for his intimacy with Coleman (a busy person whom 1 also knew), and the fear they had that be was able to have discovered things to their prejudice, did so exas]K-rat« not only the Commons but all the nation, that much of these sharpnesses against the more

1 Padre Oliva, General of the Order of Jesuit*.

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

honest Roman Catholics who lived peaceably, is to be imputed to that horrid fact.

The sessions ended, I dined or rather supped (so late it was) with the Judges1 in the large room annexed to the place, and so returned home. Though it was not my custom or delight to be often present at any capital trials, we having them commonly so exactly published by those who take them in short-hand, yet I was inclined to be at this signal one, that by the ocular view of the carriages and other circumstances of the managers and parties concerned, I might inform myself, and regulate my opinion of a cause that had so alarmed the whole nation.

22nd July. Dined at Clapham, at Sir D. Gauden's; went thence with him to Windsor, to assist him in a business with his Majesty. I lay that night at Eton College, the Provost's lodgings (Dr. Craddock), where I was courteously entertained.

23rd. To Court: after dinner, I visited that excellent painter, Verrio, whose works in fresco in the King's palace, at Windsor, will celebrate his name as long as those walls last. He showed us his pretty garden, choice flowers, and curiosities, he himself being a skilful gardener.

I went to Clifden, that stupendous natural rock, wood, and prospect, of the Duke of Buckingham's,* and buildings of extraordinary expense. The grots in the chalky rocks are pretty: it is a romantic object, and the place altogether answers the most poetical description that can be made of solitude, precipice; prospect, or whatever can contribute to a thing so very like their imaginations. The stand, somewhat like Frascati as to its front, and on the platform is a circular view to the utmost verge of the horizon, which, with the eerpenting of the Thames, is admirable. The staircase is for its materials singular; the cloisters, descents, gardens, and avenue through the wood, august and

1 The Judges were. Lord Chief Jurtire North, Mr. Justice Atkina, Mr. Justice Windham, Mr. Justice Pcmbcrton, and Mr. .1 u-iuc lMbcn.

'Cliefden'a proud alcove.

The bower of wanton Shrewsbury ami Lore—Por-E. —The same Counteta of Shrewtburr, who, when her hu-linnd challenged the Duke, her paramour, is Raid to iiavc held the hone of the Utter, in the habit of a page, while they fought.

« AnteriorContinuar »