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"Nee Deus intersit nisi dignus vindice Nodus;" and, if ever necessary, it was on this occasion: though the King lived but one year afterwards; and Cheke survived, to disgrace the Protestant Religion by his revolt.
That the Queen touched, is acknowledged: but it is as evident that she had no high opinion of the efficacy of such operation; for she once threw out an expression tending much to disparage the validity of it. Being on a Progress in Gloucestershire, her Majesty was so pestered with applications from diseased people, who pressed about her person in hopes of obtaining the Royal Touch, that she unguardedly, and in an ill-humour, exclaimed, "Alas, poor people, / cannot, JT cannot cure you; it is God alone who can do it." This was interpreted by some, as a renunciation of the Gift; but, nevertheless, the Queen afterwards admitted a general resort K2
to her for the purpose of being touched, and one in particular was healed *. On this, or some other occasion, a rigid Papist was under a necessity of applying for the Queen's Touch, after having tried every other means in vain; and was, says my Author, perfectly healed. This happening soon after the Pope had denounced the sentence of Excommunication against her Majesty, raised the reputation of this Gift in the Royal Line of England; seeing that the Pope had no power to divest the Queen of it -f*.
The Queen, at another time, A. D. 15JT5, being on a Progress in Warwickshire, where she was entertained by the Earl of Leicester at Kenilworth Castle, during her abode there, "touched nine for the King's Evil J." JAMES I.
* Browne, book iii. p. 134.
t Browne in eod.; and Tooker's "Charisma," ch. 6.
% Strype's Annals, iv. p. 394.
It does not appear that the Kings of Scotland ever pretended to this Gift; but when their James VI. came.to the Throne of England, the virtue appeared in him; and he exercised it, as is evident from a passage in Macbeth*, and still more strongly from Proclamations in this Reign, still extant f.
Being lineally descended from Henry the Seventh's Daughter, Margaret, this King had the same title to the Gift as Henry himself, who, as has been seen, used it, though descended from a line of Usurpers.
So pious a King, and so jealous of every prerogatory right, divine and human, could
* Davies, ii. 179.
t By a Proclamation, March 25, 1616, it appears that the Kings of England would not permit patients tg approach them duriDg the summer.
not fail to exercise this preternatural endow-, ment*; and accordingly we find him regulating the manner and time that persons shall be admitted to the Royal Touch, by divers Proclamations *. One is dated soon after his Accession, in 1621 f; another in 1626; and a third in 1628 J. He cured by his words only §.
* The following interesting remarks on this subject . were communicated to Mr. Nichols, in 178), by the learned and very ingenious Dr. Aikin. "Though the superstitious notions respecting the cure of the King's Evil by the Touch of our English Kings are probably at present entirely eradicated, it is still a curious and not uninstructive object of enquiry, by what means they were so long supported, and by what kind of evidence they have beeu able to gain credit even in the dawning of a more enlightened period. The testimony of Richard Wiseman, Serjeant-Surgeon to King Charles I. has been alleged as one of the strongest and most unexceptionable in favour of the Touch. He was a man of the greatest eminence in his profession; and his Works (collected in a folio volume, intituled, "Several Cbirurgical Treatises, by Richard Wiseman, Serjeant-Chirurgeon, 1676") bear all the marks of an honest and upright disposition in their author. On the subject of the Royal Touch he delivers himself in the following strong and unequivocal terms: '. I myself have been a frequent eye-witness of many hundreds of cures performed by his Majesty's Touch alone, without any assistance of Chirurgery; and those many of them such as had tired put the endeavours of able Chirurgeons before they came thither. It were endless to recite what I myself have seen, and what I have received acknowledgments of by letter, not only from the several parts of the Nation, but also from Ireland, Scotland, Jersey, and Guernsey.' The question which will naturally arise upon this passage is, Did Wiseman really believe what he asserted, or was he knowingly promoting an imposture? Both suppositions have their difficulties; yet both are in some degree probable. His warm attachment to the Royal Family, and early prejudices, might in some measure make his
One would naturally be surprized to read of such numbers who received the Royal
* By a Proclamation, June 18, 1626, it is ordered, that no one shall apply for this purpose, who does not bring a certificate that he was never touched before; a regulation which undoubtedly arose from some sup-, posed patients, who had attempted to receive the bit of gold more than once.
f Rymer, torn, xviii. p. 118.
t Id. p. 1023.
§ Browne, book iii. p. 135.