Page images


[ocr errors]

said, and it is perhaps unfortunately and morals. The fanciful spirit of true, that people in general are satis- his romances had pursued him into fied with Clarendon's History of the his biographies; and he had dragged Grand Rebellion: which Warburton, us along with him through long in his letters to Hurd, styles an in- episodes of conjectural adventure, comparable performance.” Claren- and probable or possible incident. don was a lively and florid narrator, He has since, under another name, a framer of stately periods, and a compiled some of the most intelligent painter of characters plausibly co- and useful histories that have issued loured. But he was a prejudiced from the juvenile press. Whether it and bigoted statesman ; and how be owing to his practice in this merifar his candour may be trusted, suffi- torious, though comparatively humciently appears from the false glosses ble, avocation, or to the circumand false facts detected by Oldmix- stance that the book before us is, as on,* in his “ Clarendon and Whit- he states it to be, “the production lock compared, in a comparison of his mature life, we do not know; between the history of the Rebellion but we are glad to hạil in it a soberand other histories of the Civil War.” ed tone in the comparison and esti1727.

mate of facts, and a cautious leaning This task has usually been under- towards authenticated evidence. taken in a spirit of faction or parti- The great merit of Mr. Godwin's sanship. Hume, who is full in this book will, as we think, be found to part of his general history, although be this: that it does justice to names in other parts negligently brief and which the virulence of party spirit careless, has always an apology ready has done its utmost to asperse. “The for a king. Catharine Macaulay, men,” he observes, "who figured who is not deficient in industry, and during the interregnum, were, immewho writes with spirit, was a zealous diately after the Restoration, spoken and romantic republican; nor is her of with horror, and their memoirs reputation for fairness without speck. were composed after the manner of Thus she affirms that, “ motives of the Newgate Calendar. What was mistaken selfishness, a few bigots ex- begun from party-rage has been concepted, may,” she believes, “ be very tinued from indolence. No research justly ascribed to all those who em has been exercised: no public meabarked in the royal cause:” and even sures have been traced to their right on the point of religious liberty she will authors: even the succession of judges, allow no merit to Cromwell, though if public officers, and statesmen, has there were a redeeming virtue in the been left in impenetrable confusion. mixed character of that extraordi- It is the object of the present work nary man, it was his zeal in favour of to remedy this defect; to restore the toleration. +

just tone of historical relation on the From previous reasoning we should subject, to attend to the neglected, not have presumed the fitness of Mr. to remember the forgotten, and to Godwin to undertake a work like the distribute an impartial award on all present. We had met with him in that was planned and achieved durother walks. He had carried the ing this eventful period.” lawlessness of a poetical imagination We think he should have noticed into the fields of severe logical induc- that something towards this, at least, tion, and speculated like an enthu- has been done by Dr. William Harris siast in the metaphysics of politics and Mrs. Macaulay. In expressing able to defend it four months ; but which, to the surprise of all parties, on the parliament forces entering the lines by storm, he delivered up to the enemy on terms of capitulation." Vol. iv. 174.

The character of this writer will perhaps one day be cleared from the aspersions cast upon it. His “ History of the Reigns of the Royal House of Stuart" contains a va. riety of curious facts not elsewhere to be found.

† “ In the point of religious liberty the usurper, as it served his purposes, encouraged and oppressed all the different sectaries.” Vol. v. p. 197. “ He spoke at all times (says Harris) with honour of those who differed from him, treated them with much respect and decency, and openly declared for their toleration and encouragement. Indeed, he constantly was a friend to religious liberty, and an opposer of spiritual tyranny.'

Life of Oliver Cromwell.

[ocr errors]


also his surprise that so “ copious a A proviso was inserted in the act of atsource of knowledge and certainty" tainder of the case of Strafford, that “

no as the parliamentary journals had judges or other magistrales should adjudge been so little explored, and account- any thing to be treason, in any other maning for it by their being put in print ner than they would have adjudged if this too late to allow of their being “in, used as an argument to prove that the pro

act had never been made." This has been cessantly consulted by Hume and

secutors of Strafford were conscious of the our most considerable historians, he overlooks the fact that they are

injustice they committed. It proves no such thing

It rather serves to illustrate continually referred to by Macaų- the clearness of their conceptions, and the lay.

equubility of their temper. Undoubtedly The tone of historic impartiality the prosecutors of Strafford were firmly is maintained by Mr. Godwin with averse to this proceeding being drawn into very tolerable stcadiness; consist- a precedent. Undoubtedly they were ently, at the same time, with that strongly persuaded, that, in all ordinary free and manly avowal of his likings cases the letter of the law should be observand dislikings to men and measures,

ed, and no man be condemned unless that which, in this renewed era of crawl

were against him. ing sycophancy to stars and whiskers, vincible abhorrence to the taking away the

For myself, I entertain an almost inwe would not have discouraged. His life of man, after a set form, and in cool prejudices, however, for such he has, blood, in any case whatever. The very sometimes interfere with his libera- circumstance that you have the man in lity: as when refuting, from the your power, and that he stands defenceless journals of the House of Lords, a before you, to be disposed of at your dismisrepresentation of Clarendon, on cretion, is the strongest of all persuasions the proceedings of the bill for abo- that you should give him his life. To lishing episcopacy, * he cannot for- fetter' a man's limbs, and, in that conbear throwing an odium on the whole dition, to shed his blood, like the beasts order of the wig and

who (that) serve us for food, is a thought, “ here

gown: we have an instructive example of the human heart should ever be reconciled.

to which, at first sight, we are astonished the character of a lawyer, full charged The strongest case, that can be made in its with all the tricks of his profession, favour, is where, as in this business of and drawn with his own hand :” and Strafford, the public cause and the favourin his survey of the five systems of able issue of that cause scem to demand it. church government, he leaves it to be

(P. 92.) supposed that Diocesan Episcopacy, otherwise the Church of England, in

On the case of Laud he observes, dulges itself at the present day, by a p. 430 :sort of necessity of its nature, in the It is evident on the face of the question, slitting of noses and the cropping of that no two things can be more distinct ears.

than the case of Strafford and that of Laud. His natural strong bias to the side In the former, there were reasons of no of the parliament occasionally also common urgency, why the ordinary rules obscures his perceptions of political for the administration of justice should be

set aside. That was an affair, in which the justice. To make our meaning clear, we shall extract his reasoning on the public safety was the

only law that deserved

to be consulted. The impeachment of cases of Strafford and Laud ; and we

Strafford was turned into a biîl of attainder; quote the former passage at length, it was voted that, if no one of his acts as it will, also, serve as a sample of amounted technically to treason, the whole the style of the work.

of them, taken together, constituted a

[ocr errors]

• As Mr. Godwin confesses to the “ not loving Clarendon,” wé marvel that he did not dwell on that historian's character of the assembly of divines, convened in synod at Westminster in 1643, to settle the question of church-government: especially as he (Mr. Godwin) says concerning it, “ of the character and endowments of the members of this assembly it is necessary we should form a distinct idea.” Now the idea conveyed of it by Clarendon is, that “ there were not above twenty of the 120 members, who were not declared and avowed enemies of the doctrine and discipline of the church of England: some of them infamous in their lives and conversations, and most of them of very mean parts in learning, if not of scandalous ignorance; and of no other reputation than malice to the church. This is pretty well : but Calamy says, “ these divines were men of eminent learning and godliness, ministerial abilities and fidelity.”

TREASON BY EXCELLENCE: ALL. WAS which brings to our recollection GilFair in a case in the highest degree alarm- ray's imaginary statue of French ing, and that could scarcely encounter a democratic Sensibility, weeping over parallel.

a dead dove, and grasping a dagger. Mrs. Macaulay takes the same line We recommend to him “ fiat justitia, of argument :

ruat cælum,” as a far better motto. Every article and circumstance may so

According to the argument of God

win and Macaulay, the despised corroborate the charge, as to amount to a more convincing proof than what is re. forms of law must be acknowledged quired by the forms of law: these forms to be superfluous: there seems no ought never to be dispensed with in any ac- reason why Strafford should not have cusation of a private nature ; yet the man, been knocked on the head, like a who would hesitate to prosecute or con- pole-cat, without any ceremony of DEMN a criminal, who, it was rationally trial at all. “ Killing by forms of proved, had, like Strafford, been guilty of law,” observes Lord Russel, in the atrocious acts of oppression, must be very paper which he delivered on the lukewarm in the cause of public justice, scaffold, “is the worst sort of murand have very narrow sentiments in regard der." to liberty.

In fact, it appears from the case of These arguments are only an echo that distinguished martyr in the cause of those of St. John before the Lords: of liberty, of how little avail was the that,

“ firm aversion of the parliament” to Were the testimony against Strafford not this proceeding on Strafford (after it strictly what the law required, yet, in had answered their end) being drawn this way of bill, private satisfaction to each into a precedent. « After all the man's conscience was sufficient; (and that) declaiming against a constructive the earl had no title to plead law, because treason in the case of Lord Strafford he had endeavoured to destroy the law. It (remarks Burnet), the court was alis true we give law to hares and deers, for ways running into it, when they had they are beasts of chase ; but it was never accounted cruel nor UNFAIR to destroy their way.” The exception from or

a mind to destroy any that stood in foxes and wolves wherever they can be dinary rules of justice is as good on found, for they are beasts of prey.

the side of a monarchy as on that of We do not profess to understand a republic. The “ clearness of conthe distinction between public and ception and equability of temper, private JUSTICE; nor do we see the which fixed on Strafford the “ treapoint of the stress laid on the formsson by excellence," cut short the of law: which we have always con- thread of Russel's life, and spilled ceived to be, not formalities, but, re- the blood, though they could not gulations, of testimony and proof, es flutter the pulse, of Algernon Sidney. sential to the calm and deliberative We wish Mr. Godwin to weigh character of justice, and intended to well these remarks, before he enters protect, not the innocent only, but the on that momentous event, the Trial accused: not the humble only, but the of CHARLES THE FIRST. It will ex. great criminal. Mrs. Macaulay did act his most patient attention, his not live quite long enough to see the utmost watchfulness over himself, effects of committees of PUBLIC his most severe and magnanimous safety, of the ardour for PUBLIC impartiality. Let him remember that justice, and of wide sentiments in so clear-headed a statesman, so pure regard to liberty : Mr. Godwin has a lover of justice, so generous and seen them.

open-hearted a philanthropist as the It is obvious that Mr. Godwin's late Mr. Fox, was seduced by his exceptions of an extraordinary strong dislike of absolute power case and of the “ public cause to recognise in a forcibly packed seeming to demand it,” are such as to junto the Commons of England, and reduce the security of law to a mere to see only an imp ing and magnullity, and to render his lament of nificent* spectacle in a solemn mockthe custom of shedding human blood ery of justice. a mawkish drawl of sentimentalism,

. See the History of James the Second.



The Old English Testers.









MERRIE CONCEITED IESTS, OF GEORGE quired there, as adding no slight dig

GENTLEMAN, SOMETIMES nity and lustre to his name, for he STUDENT IN OXFORD. WHEREIN IS invariably designates himself SHEWED THE COURSE OF HIS LIFE, Maister of Artes in Oxenforde." HOW HE LIVED: A MAN VERY WELL

He occurs as a member of BroadKNOWNE IN THE CITY OF LONDON

gate's Hall (now Pembroke College) Buy, read and iudge,

in the first list extant of the members The price doe not grudge :

of the university, which was taken It will doe thee more pleasure,

about the year 1564. Mr. Malone Than twice so much treasure. supposes him to have been born in LONDON, PRINTED FOR HENRY BELL, 1557 or 1558,|| but it is not likely DWELLING

that he entered before the age of 12 BAILY IN ELIOTS COURT. (Without or 13, which would carry back the date) Quarto ; containing twenty one time of his birth to 1552 or 1553. pages and the title.

He is said to have been a native of The merry Jests of George Peele Devonshire, although no positive auformed a very attractive volume, and thority to corroborate this assertion were eagerly sought after by the has been yet discovered. It is, we readers of such publications, at the think, probable that his parents were time of their appearance. Wood * obscure, and in some humble situasays that they came at last to be sold tion of life, that he was sent orion the stalls of ballad-mongers, but ginally to the university in the capathat he had never been able to get a city of poor scholar, or servitor, sight of them. The same writer where his quick parts, attracting the calls them Peele's Jests or Clinches, notice and approbation of his seniors, a word of which we cannot imme- succeeded in obtaining for him a studiately discover the etymology, al- dentship of Christ Church, and he though it probably means his shifts then proceeded through the regular or stratagems.

academical course, taking the degree The first edition appeared, we be- of bachelor of arts, June 12, 1577, lieve, in 1607;t there was a second that of master, July 6, 1579.** The in 1627;# that now before us, withe natural bent of Peele's disposition to out date, but probably either a few gaiety, his poetical talents, and, ayears earlier or later; one in 1657, bove all, his fondness for dramatic and a fifth, London, printed for Wil composition, seem to have prevented liam Whitwood, and to be sold in him from pursuing any of the learned Duck Lane, 1671.. They were also professions, for which he was doubt, reprinted for R. Triphook, in 1809. less well qualified by his abilities and

The author, George Peele, was un: education. He repaired to London, doubtedly an Oxford man, and ap- and was there probably indebted to pears to consider the place of his his pen for a maintenance, becoming education, and the degree he ac- an author by profession. Here too

* Athenæ Oxonienses, vol. i. col. 688. + “The merrie conceited Jests of George Peele. Printed by Nicholas Okes, 1607,” 4to. West's Auction Catalogue, No. 1821, and a similar edition is mentioned in Egerton the bookseller's Shop Catal. 1794, where it was marked at one guinea. Major Pearson also had a copy. Auction Cat. No. 2705.

See the Duke of Roxburghe's Auction Catalogue, No. 6685. It sold for seven guineas ! $ In the university archives, Reg. P. page 490. He had probably only just entered at the time this census academicus was taken.

|| In the MS. notes to his copy of Wood's Athenæ.
** Register of Congregation marked KK, folios 324, b. 252, 276, b.


he married. In 1585 we find him irregularities in or before 1598,7 regularly employed in the capacity leaving a widow and one daughter. of the City poet, whose province it The following, we believe, to be was to furnish the dialogue and ad- the most perfect list of Peele's works dresses which accompanied the pa- yet given. They are all of the greatgeant usual at the inauguration of est rarity. the new lord mayor, and from seve- 1. The Arraignment of Paris a ral passages in his Jests it is clear dramatic pastoral. Lond. 1584, 4to. that his wit and humour rendered 2. The Devise of the Pageant, him a welcome visitant at the City borne before Woolstone Dixi. Lond. tables. At this time he lived on the 1585, 4to. I Bank-side, over against Blackfriars. 3. A Farewell to the famous and About the year 1593 he was taken fortunate Generalls of our English under the patronage of the Earl of Forces, Sir John Norris and Syr Northumberland, to whom he dedi- Frauncis Drake. Lond. 1589, 4to. S cated his poem, entitled The Honour 4. An Æglogue gratulatorie, enof the Garter, written on the Earl's tituled to the right honourable and being installed a knight of that or- renowned Shepheard of Albion's Arder; but it seems that the irregu- cadia, Robert, Earle of Essex and larity of his life, and his constant ex- Ewre, for his welcome into England travagance and immorality of con- from Portugal. Lond. 1589, 4to.|| duct prevented his deriving any per- 5. Polyhymnia ; describing the manent advantage from this noble- honourable Triumphs at Tylt before man's countenance and support. her Maiestie, with Sir Henry Lea his Robert Greene, a poet of the same Resignation of honour at Tylt. Lond. stamp, and his companion, throws 1590, 4to. some light on the character of our 6. Descensus Astrææ. The Deauthor, in his Groatsworth of Wit, vise of a Pageant borne before M. first printed in 1592. Driven (hé William Web, Lord Maior. Lond. says) like himself to extreme shifts, 1591, 4to.** he calls upon Peele to be warned by 7. The Hunting of his misery and example, “ Delight 8. The famous Chronicle of King not in irreligious Oaths, despise Edward the First, an historical play. drunkenness, flee lust, abhor those Lond. 1593, 4to. Second Edition, epicures whose loose life hath made 1599. religion loathsome to your eares, and 9. The Honour of the Garter diswhen they sooth you with terms of plaied in a Poeme gratulatorie, enmastership, remember Robert Greene, titled to the worthie and renowned whom they have often flattered, pe- Earle of Northumberland. Lond. rishes now for want of comfort.” 1593, 4to. Peele himself tells his patron, in the 10. The Old Wives Tale, a Copoem we have just mentioned, that medy. Lond. 1595, 4to. A play of cares had been his bedfellows for very great rarity. There is a copy almost twenty years,* but his mis- in the King's library, purchased at fortunes and privations do not ap- Mr. Steevens's sale for twelve pounds, pear to have wrought any reforma- and a second copy was sold among tion in his conduct, and it is lament- the Duke of Roxburghe's books for able to relate, on the authority of 12l. 178. Meres, that he fell a sacrifice to his 11. The Love of King David and

* See Oldys's Catalogue of Harleian Pamphlets, No. 224. + “As Anacreon died by the pot, so George Peele by the p." Meres's Wits Treasury, 8vo. Lond. 1598, p. 286.

| Reprinted in Nichols's Progresses of Elizabeth, and in the Supplement to the Harleian Miscellany, vol. x. p. 351. The original copy, which is probably unique, consists of a single sheet, and is in the Bodleian library. It was purchased at Dr. Farmer's sale for a guinea and a half.

§ Censura Literaria, vol. ii. p. 15. Ed. 1815.

li This we have never seen. It is mentioned by Mr. Malone in his MS. additions to Langbaine's Dramatic Poets.

* In the late Mr. Bindley's library. Reprinted in the Supplement to the Harleian Miscellany.

++ This has never yet been discovered. It was licensed to R. Jones in 1591.

« PreviousContinue »