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stomach to the head, and put a sudden termination to bis life, on the 28th of the same month. On the 2d of May, he was publicly interred with every mark of condolence and regret, in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey; and Steele, in honour of his memory, devoted the 167th number of the Tatler to a pathetic record of the event. It was in this moment of distress, that Queen Anne settled the annuity of 1001. upon Mrs. Betterton, which has been already spoken of; but the gratuity availed little either for consolation or support. Her grief for a husband, with whom she had lived in untroubled affection for upwards of forty years, unsettled her reason, and she died a maniac in less than half a year.
Betterton was also an author: he wrote some pieces, and altered others, which though favourably received when enforced by the talents of his acting, have long sunk into neglect, and are now chiefly to be commended for the improvements in stage effect which he introduced into his scenes. These productions are eight in number, namely :-The Roman Virgin, or Unjust Judge,' published in 4to. 1679 ; “The Revenge, or a Match in Newgate,' a comedy, in 4to. 1680 : The Prophetess, or the History of Dioclesian,' an opera, in 4to. 1690; · King Henry IV. and the Humours of Sir John Falstaff,' à tragi-comedy, in 4to. 1700; · The Amorous Widow, or the Wanton Wife,' a comedy, in 4to. 1706; “Sequel of Henry IV. a dramatic novel, in 8vo. 1719; "The Bondman, or Love and Liberty,'a tragi-comedy, in 8vo. 1719; and The Woman made Justice,' a comedy, which was never printed. As an actor, Betterton must be admitted to have been not only the greatest of his own time, but also one of the greatest our stage has ever formed. As a man, his private character was decent, elevated, and beloved. He had many friends, and many patrons ; the former embraced all the literary men of the day, and the latter included the most popular of the nobility. One instance of the generosity of his nature deserves to be preserved in every account of his life. The friend with whom he adventured his little property in the Indies, died soon after the loss, and left an orphan daughter, whom Betterton adopted, and ever after treated as his own child.
THERE is no name in the valorous annals of the British navy which stands second to that of Robert Blake; he not only resuscitated the maritime spirit of England from an unnatural condition of neglect and enervation, but excited it to a glory which no subsequent achievements have eclipsed. His father, Humphrey Blake, had been a Spanish merchant of considerable trade, from the profits of which he purchased an estate near Bridgewater, in Somersetshire, upon which the subject of this memoir was born, in the month of August, 1599. He was the oldest of several children, and received the first elements of education at the Grammar-school of Bridgewater, and afterwards studied at St. Alban's Hall, and Wadham College, Oxford, with the character of a sedulous youth passionately attached to the boisterous sports of the field. He took a degree of B. A. in 1617, and after a course of seven years reading, retired, as tradition reports, in consequence of academical disappointments, to his father's roof. The death of the latter gentleman soon after left him in the possession of a bandsome competence, and he lived for some time in comparative privacy. The connexions of his family were strongly linked with the Presbyterians, a sect to whom Blake was still more recommended by anatural gravity of temperament, and with whom he soon communicated so freely, that upon the occasion of a general election in 1640, he was by their interest returned to the House of Commons as one of the members for his native borough. This distinction, however, was not one of long endurance : reiterated disputes with the Crown produced an almost immediate disso. lution of the Session, and at the next return, which was that of the Long Parliament, Blake lost his seat. But the excitement of this memorable body in a short time gave birth to incidents more con
genial to his mind; the civil war. burst forth, and he took up arms in favour of the popular side.
The first command of any consequence with which he was now entrusted, was at the defence of Bristol, by Colonel Fiennes, who was besieged by the Royalists, under Prince Rupert, in 1643. Here the obstinacy of Blake's valour was such, that he held out a fort, with some bloodshed, after the town had agreed to surrender;-an act, for which nothing but the greatest entreaties availed to save him from the summary punishment of military execution. He afterwards assisted in surprising Taunton, an important hold to which he was appointed with the rank of governor, and from which he repulsed General Goring, though at the head of a much superior force. For this conduct, and his pertinacious retention of Lymme, he received a public acknowledgment, and particular reward from the Parliament. Persisting in arms with undiminished reputation, he reduced Dunster Castle, in 1646; and thus effected one of the last successes which stamped the final triumph of his party. Of the melancholy events that followed the caption of the Royal person, Blake was only a spectator. He enjoys the reputation of having disapproved of the King's trial, and condemned the illegality of his death ; but as the republican order into which the affairs of the state thereupon resolved themselves, was by no means discordant to his principles, he continued his services to the new Government without scruple or reluctance.
The cause of Charles II. had been utterly overthrown at Worcester, and the last combinations of struggling loyalty dispersed by the vigorous hand of Cromwell, when the English Commonwealth resolved to destroy at sea the fugitives from that cause, which it had already extinguished on land. For this purpose taxes were levied to an unprecedented amount, and a fleet furnished out, which was alike respectable in numbers and equipment. For the command of this force, obdurate bravery and generous spirit pointed Blake out as the fittest officer; and it may be almost a sufficient summary of his talents to state, that although he had been hitherto accustomed to military operations alone, and was now past his 50th year, yet he soon raised the naval service of his country to a higher pitch of glory than it had reached at any former period. His first instructions in this new capacity were to proceed to Kinsale and destroy the Royalist fleet, commanded by the Princes Rupert and Maurice, in that harbour. They contrived to escape from him, however, and fied to Lisbon, whither he sailed in pursuit. Being refused permission to close with them in the Tagus, again he tacked about to sea, and revenged himself upon the Portuguese government, by making several rich prizes. With these, and a French manof-war, mounting 40 guns, he returned back to England, and was hailed at Plymouth with every demonstration of popular regard. The Parliament, equally gratified with his career, addressed him with a vote of thanks for his vigilance and valour, and as a more substantial encouragement to future exertions, made him one of the Wardens of the Cinque Ports. Immediately after this, he again put to sea, and wrested Guernsey and the Scilly Islands from the Royalists-a service of moment, for which he was promptly elected a member of the Council of State.
Ere long, a wider theatre of convulsions presented fuller scope to the greatness of his talents. The year 1652 is memorable in the history of the Commonwealth, for a diplomatic correspondence with the Dutch, which, from overtures of the most amicable nature, was rapidly converted into a war of the bitterest hostility. The first design of the English republicans was to cement a confederacy with the States of Holland, positively inseparable and probably invincible. The politics of the latter power, however, were then impressively moulded by some of those aristocratic principles, which ultimately gained a permanent ascendancy through the influence of the House of Orange; and although the men at the head of affairs were too prudent to commit themselves by any idle symptoms of abhorrence, still the populace, that first organ of opposition to governments, and that body ever promptest to pity, openly proclaimed their feeling for the desolate misfortune of Charles II. and scouted the British emissaries through every town. Disagreements immediately ensued between the leading characters of the two countries, which were gradually inflamed by trifles, until they burst forth in unrestricted violence, and a war took place, as earnestly deprecated by the Dutch, as it was imperiously dictated by the ardent spirits of the English Parliament.
Upon the first prospect of a contest, Blake was nominated sole admiral of the feet assembled in the Downs, for the protection of the British trade, and at the head of this force soon reduced disputes to actions. On the 19th of May, he came in sight of the Dutch admiral, Van Tromp, in the Dover Roads, and fired two shots, without ball, as signals that he expected the customary honours to be paid to his flag. Van Tromp noticed the challenge by discharging two more shots in mock defiance from the contrary side. Blake fired a third and a fourth gun, and was answered by the Dutchman with a full broadside, which shattered the windows of the cabin where he was drinking with his officers. Upon this he rose hastily from his seat, curled his whiskers, and exclaiming that he took it very ill of Van Tromp to break his windows, ordered his men to retort in kind. A spirited fight followed: the strength of the Dutch amounted to forty sail, while the English mustered only sixteen ships ; yet were there no traces of inferiority to be discovered. At the onset, the main fire and force of the enemy were directed against Blake's vessel ; but he was gallantly supported by the rest of the fleet, until a reinforcement of eight sail arrived from the Downs, under Captain Bourne. Though still coping with a much stronger force, the English maintained an effectual superiority with bravery ; the engagement endured for five hours, and night separated the two fleets. The Dutch sought shelter behind the Goodwin Sands, and then retired to their own coast; while the English continued at sea with the honours of having taken one ship and sunk another during the contest. Blake then flew to the north, and fell upon the herring-busses, which were protected by twelve men-of-war. The latter he either captured or dispersed, and obliged the fishing-smacks to pay every tenth herring in their nets, as an acknowledgment that the sovereignty of those seas belonged to the English Commonwealth.
On the 28th of the October following, Blake came in contact with a fresh fleet under the orders of De Ruyter and De Witte, off the North Foreland, on the coast of Kent, and succeeded in bringing on a general action at about three in the afternoon of the same day. He divided his force into three squadrons, giving the one to Vice-admiral Penn, the other to Rear-admiral Bourne, and retaining the third for his own command. The strength of both sides was nearly equal, and the Dutch were soon compelled