صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

tion of the damnable popish plot, the sum of two thousand pounds was offered him, by one Mrs. Price, and divers great persons named by her to be security for the payment of it, in case he would sign such a recantation, and affix the odiam of a protestant or presbyterian plot on some of the protestant peers, and others of known loyalty and integrity to their prince and country; particularly on the right honourable the earl of Shaftsbury : of which barbarous defign, Mr. Pugdale (being at that time touched with some remorse at such a horo rid villainy) gave his lord ship an account, which occafioned the miscarrying of that foul and traiterous enterprize.

Nor were they wanting in their famous method and artifice in calumniating and throwing dirt on the reputation of this noble peer, which is a faculty they are very famous for, and on the account of which they may partie cularly value themselves; for a pacquet of base libels, and treasonable reflections, were, by the penny-port, transmitted to a printer, and copies of the fame dispersed about the parts of Westminster, full of venomous and malicious Nanders, and imputations, tending to take away the life of that protestant earl, and divers other

peers of right honourable account; but the printer detesting so black a design, published an invitation to any person that would detect the author or publisher of that infamous libel.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

In October, during the session of the last parliament, it was very remarkable, that Francisco de Faria, interpreter to the Portugal ambassador, amongst other high matters relating to the popish plot, gave it in his information, at the bar of the house, he declared, that the said ambassador had tempted him to kill the earl of Shatsbury, by throwing a hand grenado into his coach as he was passing the road into the country: and, about the twentieth of November, one Zeal being called to the bar of the house, delivered his informa. tion at the bar ; That, being a prisoner in the Marshalsea, Mrs. Cellier came divers times to him, and treated with him, not only to be inftrumental himself, but to procure others to affift him, to fire his majelly's ships as they lay in the harbour , as also to swear against the earl of Shaftsbury such articles of high-treason as she thould get ready prepared for him ; on to that purpose. "To sum up the various methods and ways that were devised, and put in execution, to cut off the life of this noble peer, would be talk enough to fill up many volumes.

Upon the king's fummoning a parliament to meet at Oxford, on the twenty-first of March, 1680 1, he joined with several lords in a pea sition to prevent its meeting there ; which, however, failed of fuccess. He was present at that parliament, and strenuously supported the exclusion-bill

; but the duke and his friends foon contrived to make him feel the weight


their power

[ocr errors]

of his resentments ; for his lordchip was apprehended for high-treason on the second of July, 1681 ; and, after being examined by his majesty in council, was committed to the Tower, where he remained upwards of four months.

He was at length tried, acquitted, and discharged; yet did not think hintself fafe, as his bittereit enemies were now in the zenith of

He thought it high time, therefore, to seek for some place of retirement, where, out of the reach of their endeavours to injure him, he might wear out the small remainder of his life in peace. It was with this view, that, in November, 1682, he embarked for Holland; and arriving fafely at Amfterdam, after a very dangerous voyage, he. took a house there, proposing to live in a manper fuitable to his quality, being visited by perfons of the firft diftinction, and treated with all the deference and respect he could desire: but being feized by his old diftenper, the gout, it immediately few up into his fo.

mach, and soon became mortal; so that he . expired on the twenty - second of January, . 1682.3, in the fixty-second year of his age.

His body being embalmed, was transported, to England, and interred with his ancestors at. Winborne St. Giles ; and, in 1732, a noble : monument, with a large inscription to his honour, was erected by the present earl of Shafts, bury,

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]



[ocr errors][merged small]

It was a misfortune te this noble personagem that those who were angry, with him have transmitted to pofterity the history of the times in which he lived, and of that government in which he had fo large a share; and this may, in fome measure, account for his making from a miable a figare in hitory; and, that, while his prodigious abilities stand confeffed by all, the goodness and integrity of his intentions, are hardly acknowledged by any; It is also not to be imagined, at this distance, what arts and contrivances were set on foot by mies in his life-time to render his

name odious. and detestable,

Marchmont Needham, who had been em., ployed by the Regicides and the parliament to vilify the royal family in the most scandalous and barbarous manner, was paid by the mi. nifters to abuse and defame the earl of Shaffbury. This he did with great pleafure, in a quarto pamphlet, intitled, A Pacquet of Advices, and Animadversions, sent from London 'to the Men of Shaftsbury; which is of Use for all his Majesty's Subjects in the Three Kingdoms. London, 1676. And, what is remarkable enough, his abuse is transferred, verbatim, into the account given of this noble perfon by the Oxford historian.

The earl of Shaftsbury was also represented as having had the vanity to expect to be chosen king of Poland;

and this made way for call. ing him count Tapsky, alluding to the tap which had been applied upon the breaking out


[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

of the ulcer between his ribs when he was lordchancellor. It was also a ftanding-jest, with the lower form of wits, to stile him Shiftsbury instead of Shaftsbury.

It is remarked that Sir Paul Neal watered his mares with Rhenish and sugar; that is, entertained his mistresses. His lordship is supposed to have been a little intemperate in this way; and it is recorded, that king Charles II. who would both take liberties and bear them, once fạid to the earl. at court, in a vein of raillery and good-humour, and in reference only to his amours, " I believe, Shaftsbury, thou art the wickedeft fellow in


dominions :" to which, with a low bow, and very: grave face, the earl replied, “ May it please your majesty, of a subject I believe I am.” At which the merry monarch laughed most heartily.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »