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London in Modern Times By Unknown Characters: 48533

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Great as was the consternation described in the foregoing chapter, scarcely less terror was produced in the minds of the citizens by the apprehension of a Dutch invasion about the same time. In 1666, even before the fire, this feeling was excited. The ships of France and Holland approached the Thames, and engaged with the English fleet. "After dinner," says Lady Warwick, whose entry in her journal, under date, July 29, brings the occurrence home to us-"after dinner came the news of hearing the guns that our fleet was engaged. My head was much afflicted by the consideration of the blood that was spilt, and of the many souls that would launch into eternity." There is a fine passage, descriptive of the excitement at this time, in Dryden's Essay on Poesie: "The noise of the cannon from both navies reached our ears about the city, so that men being alarmed with it, and in dreadful suspense of the event, which we knew was then deciding, every one went following the sound as his fancy led him, and leaving the town almost empty, some took towards the park, some cross the river, others down it, all seeking the noise in the depth of the silence. Taking, then, a barge, which the servant of Lisidenis had provided for them, they made haste to shoot the bridge, and left behind them that great fall of waters, which hindered them from hearing what they desired; after which, having disengaged themselves from many vessels which rode in anchor in the Thames, and almost blocked up the passage to Greenwich, they ordered the watermen to let fall their oars more gently; and then every one favoring his own curiosity with a strict silence, it was not long ere they perceived the air breaking about them, like the noise of distant thunder, or of swallows in the chimney, those little undulations of sound, though almost vanishing before they reached them, yet still seeming to retain somewhat of their first horror, which they had betwixt the fleets. After they had listened till such time as the sound, by little and little, went from them, Eugenius, lifting up his head, and taking notice of it, was the first who congratulated to the rest that happy omen of our nation's victory, adding, we had but this to desire in confirmation of it, that we might hear no more of that noise, which was now leaving the English coast." This passage, which Montgomery eulogizes most warmly in his Lectures on English Poetry, as one of the most magnificent in our language, places before us, with graphic force, the state of curiosity, suspense, and solicitude, which was experienced by multitudes of citizens at the period referred to.

In the following year, fresh excitement from the same source arose. The monarch was wasting upon his pleasures a considerable portion of the money which parliament had voted for the defence of the kingdom. The national exchequer was empty, and the credit of the navy commissioners gone. No loans could be obtained, yet ready money was demanded by the laborers required in the dockyards, by the sailors who were wanted to man the vessels, and by the merchants from whose stores the fleet needed its provisions. Not a gun was mounted in Tilbury Fort, nor a ship of war was in the river ready to oppose the enemy, while crowds thronged about the Admiralty, demanding their pay, and justly upbraiding the government. The Dutch ships, under De Ruyter, entered the Thames, sailed up the Medway, and seized the Royal Charles, besides three first-rate English vessels. One can easily conceive the second panic which this event must have produced among the citizens; nor is it difficult to imagine the suspension of business, the general exchange of hasty inquiries in that hour of terror, and the flocking of the people to the river-side to learn tidings of the fleet. Though the Dutch ships, unable to do further mischief on that occasion, returned to join the rest of the naval force anchored off the Nore; yet the citizens could not be relieved from their anxiety by this circumstance, for they knew that the foe would remain hovering about their coasts, and they could not tell but that in some unlooked-for moment the invaders might approach the very walls of their city. Some weeks of painful apprehension followed, and twice again did the admiral threaten to remount the Thames. An engagement between the English squadron and a portion of the invading armament of Holland prevented the accomplishment of that design, and saved London for the present from further fear.

Strong political excitement was produced in the city of London, at a later period of Charles II.'s reign, by another kind of invasion. The monarch and court, finding themselves thwarted in their arbitrary system of government by the spirit of the citizens, who were jealous of their own liberties, ventured, in defiance of the national constitution and the charters of the city, to interfere in the municipal elections. They attempted to thrust on the people as sheriffs men whom they knew they could employ as tools for despotic purposes. In 1681, a violent attempt of this sort was made, when the city returned in opposition to the wishes of king and court, two patriotic and popular men, Thomas Pilkington and Samuel Shaw. The king could not conceal his chagrin at this election, and when invited to dine with the citizens, replied, "Mr. Recorder, an invitation from the lord mayor and the city is very acceptable to me, and to show that it is so, notwithstanding that it is brought by messengers so unwelcome to me as those two sheriffs are, yet I accept it." Many of the citizens about the same time, influenced by fervent Protestant zeal, and by attachment to the civil and religious liberties of the country, were apprehensive of the consequences if the Duke of York, known to be a Roman Catholic, were allowed to ascend the British throne. The anti-papal feelings of the nation had been increased by the belief of a deeply-laid popish plot, which the infamous Titus Oates pretended to reveal; and in London those sentiments had been rendered still more intense by the murder of Sir Edmondbury Godfery, the magistrate who received Oates's depositions. His death, over which a large amount of mystery still rests, was attributed to the revenge of the papists for the part he had taken in the prosecution against them. The hatred of which, in general, Roman Catholics were the objects, centered on the prince, from whose succession to the crown the restoration of the old religion of the country was anticipated. His name became odious, and it was difficult to shield it from popular indignity. Some one cut and mangled a picture of him which hung in Guildhall. The corporation, to prevent his royal highness from supposing that they countenanced or excused the insult, offered a large reward for the detection of the offender, and the Artillery Company invited the prince to a city banquet. The party most active in opposing his succession determined to have a large meeting and entertainment of their own, to express their opinion on the vital point of the succession to the crown; but the proceeding was sternly forbidden by the court, a circumstance which only served to deepen the feelings of discontent already created to a serious extent in very many breasts. This was followed up by the lord mayor nominating, in the year 1682, a sheriff favorable to the royal interests, and intimating to the citizens that they were to confirm his choice. The uproar at the common hall on Midsummer-day was tremendous. The citizens contended for their right of election, and nominated both sheriffs themselves, selecting two persons of popular sentiments. Amidst the riot, the lord mayor was roughly treated, and consequently complained to his majesty, the result of which was, that the two sheriffs already in office, and obnoxious to the court, were committed to the Tower for not maintaining the peace. Papillion and Dubois, the people's candidates, were elected. The privy council annulled the election, and commanded another; when the lord mayor most arbitrarily declared North and Box, the court candidates, duly chosen. Court and city were now pledged to open conflict; the former pursuing thoroughly despotic measures to bring the latter to submission. One rich popular citizen was fined to the amount of £100,000, for an alleged scandal on the popish duke, and at length it was resolved to take away the city charter. Forms of law were adopted for the purpose. An information, technically entitled a quo warranto, was brought against the corporation in the court of King's Bench. It was alleged, in support of this suit at the instance of the crown, that the common council had imposed certain tolls by an ordinance of their own, and had presented and published throughout the country an insolent petition to the king, in 1679, for the calling of parliament. The court, swayed by a desire to please the king, pronounced judgment against the corporation, and declared their charter forfeited; yet only recorded that judgment, as if to inveigle the corporation into some kind of voluntary submission, as the price of preserving a portion of what they were now on the point of altogether losing. Such an issue, of course, was regarded by the court as more desirable than an act of direct force, which was likely to irritate the citizens, and arouse wrath, which might be treasured up against another day. The city, to save their estates, yielded to the law, and submitted to the conditions imposed by the king-namely, that no mayor, sheriff, recorder, or other chief officer, should be admitted until approved by the king; that in event of his majesty's twice disapproving the choice of the citizens, he should himself nominate a person to fill the office, without waiting for another election; that the court of aldermen might, with the king's permission, remove any one of their body, and that they should have a negative on the election of the common council, and, in case of disapproving a second choice on the part of the citizens, should themselves proceed to nominate such as they themselves approved. "The city was of course absolutely subservient to the court from this time to the revolution." (Hallam's Constitutional History, chap. ii, p. 146.)

The unconstitutional proceedings of the king and court, of which the circumstances just related are a specimen, aroused some patriotic spirits in the country; but the power which inspired their indignation crushed their energies. Two illustrious men, who fell victims to that power, were connected with the city of London as the place of their abode, and the scene where they sealed their principles by death. Russell and Sydney both perished there in 1683. They were accused of participation in the notorious Rye House plot, and upon evidence, such as would convince no jury in the present day, were found guilty of treason. Lord Russell was conveyed from Newgate on the 21st of July, 1683, to be beheaded in Lincoln's-inn-fields. The duke of York, who intensely hated the patriot, wished him to be executed in Southampton-square, before his own residence; but the king, says Burnet, "rejected that as indecent." Lord Russell's behavior on the scaffold was in keeping with his previous piety and fortitude. "His whole behavior looked like a triumph over death." He said, the day before he died, that the sins of his youth lay heavy on his mind, but he hoped God had forgiven them, for he was sure he had forsaken them, and for many years had walked before God with a sincere heart. The faithful lady Rachel, who had so nobly acted as his secretary on his trial, and had used her utmost efforts to save his life, attended him in prison, and sought to strengthen his mind with the hopes and consolations of the gospel of Christ. Late the last night he spent on earth their final separation in this world took place; when, after tenderly embracing her several times, both magnanimously suppressing their indescribable emotions, he exclaimed, as she left the cell, "The bitterness of death is past." Winding up his watch the next morning, he observed, "I have done with time, and am going to eternity." He earnestly pressed upon Lord Cavendish the importance of religion, and declared how much comfort and support he derived from it in his extremity. Some among the crowds that filled the streets wept, while others insulted; he was touched by the tenderness of the one party, without being provoked by the heartlessness of the other. Turning into Little Queen-street, he said, "I have often turned to the other hand with great comfort, but now I turn to this with greater." "A tear or two" fell from his eyes as he uttered the words. He sang psalms a great part of the way, and said he hoped to sing better soon. On being asked what he was singing, he said, the beginning of the 119th Psalm. On entering Lincoln's-inn-fields, the sins of his youth were brought to his remembrance, as he had there indulged in those vices which characterized the court of Charles II. "This has been to me a place of sinning, and God now makes it the place of my punishment." As he observed the great crowds assembled to witness his end, he remarked, "I hope I shall quickly see a better assembly." He walked round the scaffold several times, and then delivered to the sheriffs a paper, which had been carefully prepared, declaring his innocence of the charge of treason, and his strong attachment to the Protestant faith. After this, he prayed by himself, and then Dr. Tillotson prayed with him. Another private prayer, and the patriot, having calmly unrobed himself, as if about to lie down on his couch to sleep, placed his head upon the block, and with two strokes of the axe was hastened into the eternal world. The faith, hope, patience, and love of his illustrious lady surpassed even his own, and her letters breathe a spirit redolent of heaven rather than earth. After a severe illness, she wrote, in October, 1680: "I hope this has been a sorrow I shall profit by; I shall, if God will strengthen my faith, resolve to return him a constant praise, and make this the season to chase all secret murmurs from grieving my soul for what is past, letting it rejoice in what it should rejoice-His favor to me, in the blessings I have left, which many of my betters want, and yet have lost their chiefest friend also. But, O! the manner of my deprivation is yet astonishing." Five years afterwards she says, "My friendships have made all the joys and troubles of my life, and yet who would live and not love? Those who have tried the insipidness of it would, I believe, never choose it. Mr. Waller says-

'What know we of the bless'd above.

But that they sing, and that they love!'

And 'tis enough; for if there is so charming a delight in the love, and suitableness in humors, to creatures, what must it be to the clarified spirits to love in the presence of God!"

Algernon Sydney was a man of very powerful mind and of great eloquence, in these respects utterly eclipsing his noble compatriot; but in his last days it is painful to miss that Christian faith, tenderness of heart, and beautiful religious hope, which shone with such serene brightness amidst the sorrows of his friend. Sydney was a staunch republican, and his patriotism was cast in the hard and severe mould of ancient Rome. He was another Brutus. This distinguished man was executed on Tower-hill, December the 7th, 1683, and faced death with the utmost indifference, not seeking any aid from the ministers of religion in his last moments, nor addressing the assembled multitude, but only remarking to those who stood by that he had made his peace with God, and had nothing to say to man.

Another sufferer in the same cause, less known to history, but more closely connected with London, was alderman Cornish. From his great zeal in the cause of Protestantism, he had become peculiarly odious to the reigning powers. He was suddenly accused of treason, and hurried to Newgate on the 13th of October. On the following Saturday he received notice of his indictment, and the next Monday was arraigned at the bar. Having been denied time to prepare his defence, he was completely in the hands of his persecutors, who wreaked on him their vengeance with merciless intensity and haste. On the 23d of the same month, he was hanged, drawn, and quartered, in front of his own house, at the end of King-street, Cheapside. After his death his innocency was established, and it is said that James, who now occupied the throne, lamented the injustice he had done. The duke of Monmouth, the king's nephew, perished on Tower-hill, July, 1685, for his rebellion in the western counties. The awful tragedy of an execution, with which the citizens had become so familiar, was in this instance rendered additionally horrid by the circumstance that the headsman, after several ineffectual attempts to decapitate his victim, who, with the gashes in his neck, reproached him for his tardiness, flung down the axe, declaring he could not go on; forced by the sheriffs, the man at length fulfilled his bloody task.

The arbitrary and cruel government of the country for many years was now on the point of working out its remedy. The trial and acquittal of the seven bishops at Westminster hastened on a crisis, and nothing could exceed the joy which the city evinced on that occasion. On their way to the Tower by water, the most enthusiastic demonstrations of sympathy were evinced by the multitudes who lined the banks of the Thames, and on reaching the fortress itself, the garrison knelt and begged their blessing. Their subsequent discharge on bail, and especially their final acquittal, excited boundless joy throughout the city, and were celebrated by bonfires and illuminations. The king, observing the tide of popular feeling set in so decidedly against him, endeavored to reconcile the city of London by restoring to it the charter, which, in his brother's reign, had been so unjustly taken away. But though this brought votes of thanks in return, it established no confidence towards the sovereign on the part of the people. The prince of Orange, invited over by several distinguished persons, wearied by the long continuance of tyranny, landed at Torbay, when James, having committed the care of the metropolis to the lord mayor, marched forth to meet his formidable rival. The result belongs to the history of England. The lords spiritual and temporal held one of their important meetings, during the interregnum, at Guildhall, and summoned to it the chief magistrate and aldermen. Judge Jeffreys, of infamous memory, was brought before the lord mayor, and committed to the Tower, where he died through excessive drinking. Disturbances broke out in the city, and the populace plundered the houses of the papists. The mayor, aldermen, and a deputation from the common council, were summoned to attend the convention parliament, which raised the prince of Orange to the throne. These are the principal incidents in the history of London, as connected with the glorious revolution of 1688.

William and Mary were soon welcomed by the citizens to a very splendid entertainment, the usual token of loyalty offered by them to new sovereigns; and no time was lost by their majesties in reversing the quo warranto, and fully restoring to the city its ancient charter. When a conspiracy against William was discovered, in 1692, the city train bands displayed their loyalty, and marched to Hyde Park to be reviewed by the queen; and again, when an assassination plot was detected, an association was formed among the citizens to defend his person. These occurrences, with sundry rejoicings and entertainments upon the king's return to this country, after the Irish and foreign campaigns in which he engaged, are the principal civic events connected with the reign of William III.

On turning from the political history of London to look at the manners and morals of society during the latter part of the seventeenth century, our attention is immediately arrested by the scenes at Whitehall during the reign of Charles II. There the monarch fixed his court, gathering around him some of the most profligate persons of the age, and freely indulging in the most criminal pleasures. The palace was adorned with the greatest splendor, the ceilings and walls being decorated, and the furniture and other ornaments being fashioned according to the French taste, as it then prevailed under Louis XIV. Courtiers and idlers here flocked together from day to day, to lounge in the galleries, to talk over public news and private scandal, and to listen to the tales and jests of the king, whose presence was very accessible, and whose wit and familiarity with his courtiers made him a great favorite. Banquets, balls, and gambling, formed the amusements of the evening, often disgraced by open licentiousness. "I can never forget," says Evelyn, "the inexpressible luxury and profaneness, gaming and all dissoluteness, and as it were total forgetfulness of God, (it being Sunday evening,) which this day se'nnight I was witness of." This was at the close of the sovereign's wretched career. "Six days after," adds the writer, "was all in the dust!" This passage cannot but call up in the Christian mind, awful thoughts of the eternal condition of such as spend their days in the pleasures of sin, and then drop into that invisible world, on the brink of which they were all along "sporting themselves with their own deceivings." Sinful practices, such as stained the court of Charles II., are too often attempted to be disguised under palliative terms; but the solemn warning of Scripture remains, "Let no man deceive you with vain words, for because of these things cometh the wrath of God on the children of disobedience." It is pleasing here to remember, that among those whom their dignified station, or their duties towards the sovereign and royal family, brought more or less into contact with the court, there were persons of a very different character from the gay circle around them, and whose thoughts, amidst the most brilliant spectacles, were lifted up to objects that are beyond earthly vision. "In the morning," says lady Warwick, in her diary, April 23, 1667, "as soon as dressed, in a short prayer I committed my soul to God, then went to Whitehall, and dined at my lord chamberlain's, then went to see the celebration of St. George's feast, which was a very glorious sight. Whilst I was in the Banqueting House, hearing the trumpets sounding, in the midst of all that great show God was pleased to put very mortifying thoughts into my mind, and to make me consider, what if the trump of God should now sound?-which thought did strike me with some seriousness, and made me consider in what glory I had in that very place seen the late king, and yet out of that very place he was brought to have his head cut off. And I had also many thoughts how soon all that glory might be laid in the dust, and I did in the midst of it consider how much greater glory was provided for a poor sincere child of God. I found, blessed be God! that my heart was not at all taken with anything I saw, but esteemed it not worth the being taken with."-Lady Warwick's Memoirs. Lady Godolphin was another beautiful instance of purity and piety amidst scenes of courtly splendor, and manifold temptations to worldliness and vice; and the more remarkable in this respect, that her duties required her frequent attendance at Whitehall, and brought her into close contact with the perils of the place.

The parks were favorite places of resort. "Hyde Park," observes a cotemporary writer, "every one knows is the promenade of London; nothing was so much in fashion during the fine weather as that promenade, which was the rendezvous of magnificence and beauty; every one, therefore, who had a splendid equipage, constantly repaired thither, and the king seemed pleased with the place. Coaches with glasses were then a late invention; the ladies were afraid of being shut up in them." Charles was fond of walking in the parks, which he did with such rapidity, and for such a length of time as to wear out his courtiers. He once said to prince George of Denmark, who was corpule

nt, "Walk with me, and hunt with my brother, and you will not long be distressed with growing fat." Playing with dogs, feeding ducks, and chatting with people, were occupations the king was much addicted to, and were thought by his subjects to be so condescending, familiar, and kind, that they tended much to promote his personal popularity with the London citizens and others. Along St. James's Park, at the back of what are now Carlton Gardens, there ran a wall, which formed the boundary of the king's garden. On the north side of it was an avenue, with rows of elms on one side, and limes on the other, the one sheltering a carriage road, the other a foot-path. Between lay an open space, called Pall Mall, which designation was derived from a game played there, consisting of striking a ball through an iron hoop suspended on a lofty pole. This was a favorite sport in the days of Charles, and many a gay young cavalier exercised himself, and displayed his dexterity among those green shades, where now piles of houses line the busy street, still retaining the name it bore nearly two centuries ago.

The pleasures of the parks and Whitehall, with all the licentious accompaniments of the latter, were not always enough to meet the vitiated appetite for amusement which then prevailed among the courtiers. Lord Rochester-whose end formed such a striking contrast to his life; whose sorrow for his sins was so intense, and his desire for forgiveness and spiritual renewal so earnest-was prominent in these extravagances, and set himself up in Tower-street as an Italian mountebank, professing to effect extraordinary cures. Sometimes, also, he went about in the attire of a porter or beggar. This taste was cherished and indulged by the highest personages. "At this time," (1668,) says Burnet, "the court fell into much extravagance in masquerading; both the king and queen and all the court went about masked, and came into houses unknown, and danced there with a great deal of wild frolic. In all this people were so disguised, that without being in the secret none could distinguish them. They were carried about in hackney chairs. Once the queen's chairman, not knowing who she was, went from her. So she was alone, and was much disturbed, and came to Whitehall in a hackney coach; some say a cart." Scenes of dissipation at Whitehall, with occasional excesses of the kind just noticed, make up the history of the court at London during the reign of Charles II. The palace, under his brother James, who, with all his popish zeal, was far from a pure and virtuous man, though cleansed from some of its pollution, was still the witness of lax morals. The habits of William III. and his queen Mary, greatly changed the aspect of things at Whitehall, till its destruction by fire, (the Banqueting House excepted,) in the year 1691. Afterwards the royal residence was either at Kensington or Hampton Court.

The riotous pleasures of Charles II. and his favorites, naturally encouraged imitation among the citizens of London, and during the whole reign of Charles it was full of scenes of revelry. The excesses which had been restrained during the commonwealth, and the abandoned characters who, to escape the churchwardens and other censors of public morals, sought refuge in retired haunts of villany, now appeared in open day. The restoration had introduced a sort of saturnalia; and no wonder, then, that the event was annually celebrated by the lovers of frivolous pleasure in London, with the gayest rejoicings, in which the garland and the dance bore a conspicuous part. While habits of dissipation were too common among the inhabitants generally, vice and crime were encouraged among the abandoned classes, by the existence of privileged places, such as Whitefriars, the Savoy, Fuller's Rents, and the Minories, where men who had lost all character and credit took refuge, and carried on with impunity their nefarious practices. Other persons, also, who ranked with decent London tradesmen, would sometimes avail themselves of these spots; and we are informed that even late in the seventeenth century, men in full credit used to buy all the goods they could lay their hands on, and carry them directly to Whitefriars, and then sending for their creditors, insult them with the exhibition of their property, and the offer of some miserable composition in return. If they refused the compromise, they were set at defiance.

The flood of licentiousness which rolled through the city in the time of Charles II. happily proved insufficient to break down the religious character of a large number of persons, who had been trained under the faithful evangelical ministry of earlier times, or had been impressed by the teaching of earnest-minded preachers and pastors who still remained. The fire, as well as the plague, in connection with the fidelity of some of God's servants, was, no doubt, instrumental, under the blessing of his Holy Spirit, in turning the hearts of many from darkness to light. The black cloud, as Janeway calls it, which no wind could blow over, till it fell in such scalding drops, also folded up in its skirts treasures of mercy for some, whose souls had been unimpressed by milder means.

By the Act of Uniformity many devoted ministers had been silenced in London-Richard Baxter, among the rest, whose sermons had attracted, as they well might, the most crowded auditories;[1] but in private they continued to do the work of their heavenly Master; and when spaces of toleration occurred in the persecuting reigns of Charles and James II., they opened places of worship, and discharged their holy functions with happy effects on their numerous auditories. After the fire, they were for a little time in the enjoyment of this privilege; but, in 1670, an act was passed for the suppression of conventicles, and the buildings were forthwith converted into tabernacles, for the use of the establishment while the parish churches were rebuilding. Eight places of this description are mentioned, of which may be noticed the meeting-house of the excellent Mr. Vincent, in Hand-alley, Bishopsgate-street, a large room, with three galleries, thirty large pews, and many benches and forms; and also Mr. Doolittle's meeting-house, built of brick, with three galleries, full of large pews below. Dr. Manton, a celebrated Presbyterian divine, was apprehended on a Sunday afternoon, at the close of his sermon, and committed a prisoner to the Gate-house. His meeting-house in White-yard was broken up, and a fine of £40 imposed on the people, and £20 on the minister. It is related of James Janeway, that as he was walking by the wall at Rotherhithe, a bullet was fired at him; and that a mob of soldiers once broke into his meeting house in Jamaica-row, and leaped upon the benches. Amidst the confusion, some of his friends threw over him a colored coat, and placed a white hat on his head, to facilitate his escape. Once, while preaching in a gardener's house, he was surprised by a band of troopers, when, throwing himself on the ground, some persons covered him with cabbage leaves, and so preserved him from his enemies. (Spiritual Heroes, p. 313.) In secresy the good people often met to worship, according to the dictates of their consciences; and until lately there remained in the ruins of the old priory of Bartholomew, in Smithfield, doors in the crypt, which tradition reported to have been used for admission into the gloomy subterranean recesses, where the persecuted ones, like the primitive Christians in the catacombs of Rome, worshiped the Father through Jesus Christ. The Friends, or Quakers, as they were termed, at this time manifested great intrepidity, and continued their worship as before, not stirring at the approach of the officers who came to arrest them, but meekly going all together to prison, where they stayed till they were dismissed, for they would not pay the penalties imposed on them, nor even the jail fees. On being discharged, they went to their meeting-houses as before, and finding them closed, crowded in the street around the door, saying "they would not be ashamed nor afraid to disown their meeting together in a peaceable manner to worship God, but in imitation of the prophet Daniel, they would do it more publicly because they were forbid." Neale's Puritans, vol. iv, p. 433. William Penn and William Mead, two distinguished members of the Society of Friends, were tried at the Old Bailey in 1670, and were cruelly insulted by the court. The jury, not bringing in such a harsh verdict as was desired, were threatened with being locked up without "meat, drink, fire, or tobacco." "We are a peaceable people, and cannot offer violence to any man," said Penn; adding, as he turned to the jury, "You are Englishmen, mind your privileges, give not away your rights." They responded to the noble appeal, and acquitted the innocent prisoners.

When, in the next year, Charles exercised a dispensing power, and set aside the persecuting acts, wishing to give freedom to the papists, most of the London nonconformist ministers took out licences, and great numbers attended their meetings. In 1672, the famous Merchants' Lecture was set up in Pinner's Hall, and the most learned and popular of the dissenting divines were appointed to deliver it. Alderman Love, member for the city, in the name of such as agreed with him, stood up in the House of Commons, refusing to take the benefit of the dispensing power as unconstitutional. He said, "he had rather go without his own desired liberty than have it in a way so destructive of the liberties of his country and the Protestant interest, and that this was the sense of the main body of dissenters." The indulgence was withdrawn. Toleration bills failed in the House of Commons. The Test Act was brought in; fruitless attempts were made for a comprehension; and London was once more a scene of persecution. Informers went abroad, seeking out places where nonconformists were assembled, following them to their homes, taking down their names, ascertaining suspected parties, listening to private conversation, prying into domestic scenes, and then delivering over their prey into the hands of miscalled officers of justice, who exacted fines, and rifled their goods, or carried them off to prison. Such proceedings occurred at several periods in the reigns of Charles and James II., after which the revolution of 1688 brought peace and freedom of worship to the long-oppressed nonconformists in London and throughout the country.

Popery lifted up its head in London on the restoration of Charles II. Many professors of it accompanied the king on his accession to the throne, and crowded round the court, being treated with conspicuous favor. The queen-mother came from France, and took up her abode at Somerset House, where she gathered round her a number of Roman Catholic priests. The foreign ambassadors' chapels were used by English papists, who thus obtained liberty of worship, while the London Protestant nonconformists were shamefully persecuted. Jesuit schools and seminaries were established, under royal patronage, and popish bishops were consecrated in the royal chapel of St. James's. At Whitehall, the ecclesiastics appeared in their canonical habits, and were encouraged in their attempts to proselyte the people to the unreformed faith. A diarist of the times, under date January 23, 1667, records a visit he paid to the popish establishment in St. James's Palace, composed of the chaplains and priests connected with Catharine of Braganza, Charles II.'s queen: "I saw the dormitory and the cells of the priests, and we went into one-a very pretty little room, very clean, hung with pictures, and set with books. The priest was in his cell, with his hair-clothes to his skin, barelegged, with a sandal only on, and his little bed without sheets, and no feather bed, but yet I thought soft enough, his cord about his middle; but in so good company, living with ease, I thought it a very good life. A pretty library they have: and I was in the refectory where every man had his napkin, knife, cup of earth, and basin of the same; and a place for one to sit and read while the rest are at meals. And into the kitchen I went, where a good neck of mutton at the fire, and other victuals boiling-I do not think they fared very hard. Their windows all looking into a fine garden and the park, and mighty pretty rooms all. I wished myself one of the Capuchins."

But it does not appear that the London commonalty were infected with the love of the Papal Church, whatever might be done at court to foster it. On the contrary, a strong feeling was cherished by multitudes in opposition to all the popish proceedings of their superiors. Ebullitions of popular sentiment on the question frequently appeared, especially in the annual burning of the pope's effigy, on the 17th of November, at Temple Bar. This was to celebrate the accession of Queen Elizabeth; and after the discovery of the so-called Meal Tub plot, in the reign of Charles II., it was performed with increased parade and ceremony. The morning was ushered in with the ringing of bells, and in the evening a procession took place, by the light of flambeaux, to the number of some thousands. The balconies, and windows, and tops of houses, were crowded with eager faces, reflecting the light that blazed up from the moving crowds along the streets. Mock friars, bishops, and cardinals, with the pope, headed by a man on horseback, personating the dead body of Sir Edmondbury Godfery, composed the spectacle. It started from Bishopsgate, and passing along Cheapside and Fleet-street terminated at Temple Bar, where the pope was cast into a bonfire, and the whole concluded with a display of fireworks. While anti-popish proceedings of this description might be leavened with much of the ignorance and intolerance which mark the odious system thus assailed, and can, therefore, be regarded with little satisfaction, it must be remembered that there was abundant cause at that time for those who prized the liberties of their country, as well as those who valued the truths of religion, to regard with alarm and to resist with vigor the incursions of a political Church, which sought to crush those liberties, and to darken those truths. The evils of Popery, inherent and unchangeable, obtruded themselves most offensively, and with a threatening aspect, at a period when they were defended and maintained in high places; and it was notorious that the successor to the English crown was plotting for the revival of Popish ascendency. During the reign of James II., the grounds of excitement became stronger than before. Everything dear to Englishmen as well as Protestants was at stake. The destinies of Church and state, of religion and civil policy, were trembling in the balance. Men's hearts might well fail them for fear, and only confidence in the power of truth, and the God of truth, with earnest prayer for his gracious succor and protection, could still and soothe their agitated bosoms. Weapons of the right kind were employed. The best divines of the Church of England manfully contended in argument against the baneful errors of Romanism. Dissenting divines, especially Baxter, threw their energies into the same conflict. Political measures were also adopted vigorously and with decision-their nature we can neither criticise nor describe-and through the good providence of God our fathers were delivered from an impending curse, which we pray may neither in our times, nor in future ages, light on our beloved land.

In approaching the termination of this chapter, it is desirable to insert some account of the extent and state of buildings in London at the close of the seventeenth century, and a few notices of other matters relating to that period, which have not yet come under our consideration. Chamberlayne, in his Angli? Notitia, 1692, dwells with warm delight upon the description of the London squares, "those magnificent piazzas," as he terms them; and then enumerates Lincoln's-inn-fields, Convent Garden, St. James's-square, Leicester-fields, Southampton-square, Red Lion-square, Golden-square, Spitalfields-square, and "that excellent new structure, called the King's-square," now Soho. These were all extramural, and beyond the liberties of the municipality, and they show how the metropolis was extending, especially in the western direction. As early as 1662, an act was passed for paving Pall Mall, the Haymarket, and St. James's-street. Clarendon, in 1604, built his splendid mansion in Piccadilly, called in reproach Dunkirk House by the common people, who "were of opinion that he had a good bribe for the selling of that town." Others, says Burnet, called it Holland House, because he was believed to be no friend to the war. It was much praised for its magnificence, and for the beautiful country prospect it commanded. Evelyn's record of an interview with the builder of the proud palace, is an affecting illustration of the vanity of this world's grandeur, and of the disappointments and mortifications that follow ambition. Clarendon had lost the favor of his sovereign, and the confidence of the public. "I found him in his garden," says Evelyn, "at his new-built palace, sitting in his gout wheel-chair, and seeing the gates set up towards the north and the fields. He looked and spake very disconsolately. After some while, deploring his condition to me, I took my leave. Next morning, I heard he was gone." The house was afterwards pulled down. In 1668, Burlington House was finished, placed where it is because it was at the time of its erection thought certain that no one would build beyond it. "In London," says Sir William Chambers, "many of our noblemen's palaces towards the streets look like convents; nothing appears but a high wall, with one or two large gates, in which there is a hole for those who are privileged to go in and out. If a coach arrives, the whole gate is open indeed, but this is an operation that requires time, and the porter is very careful to shut it up again immediately, for reasons to him very weighty. Few in this vast city suspect, I believe, that behind an old brick wall in Piccadilly there is one of the finest pieces of architecture in Europe." All to the west and north of Burlington House was park and country, where huntsmen followed the chase, or fowlers plied their toils with gun and net, or anglers wielded rod and line on the margin of fair ponds of water. "We should greatly err," observes Mr. Macaulay, "if we were to suppose that any of the streets and squares then wore the same appearance as at present. The great majority of the houses, indeed, have since that time been wholly or in part rebuilt. If the most fashionable parts of the capital could be placed before us, such as they then were, we should be disgusted with their squalid appearance, and poisoned by their noisome atmosphere. In Convent Garden a filthy and noisy market was held, close to the dwellings of the great. Fruit women screamed, carters fought, cabbage stalks and rotten apples accumulated in heaps, at the thresholds of the countess of Berkshire and of the bishop of Durham." Shops in those days did not present the bravery of plate glass and bold inscriptions, with all sorts of devices, but exhibited small windows, with huge frames which concealed rather than displayed the wares within; while all manner of signs, including Saracens' heads, blue bears, golden lambs, and terrific griffins, with other wonders, swung on projecting irons across the street, an humble resemblance of the row of banners lining the chapels of the Garter and the Bath, at Windsor and Westminster. Though a general paving and cleansing act for the streets of London was passed in 1671, they continued long afterwards in a deplorably filthy condition, the inconvenience occasioned by day being greatly increased at night by the dense darkness, at best but miserably alleviated by the few candles set up in compliance with the watchman's appeal, "Hang out your lights." Glass lamps, known by the name of convex lights, were introduced into use in 1694, and continued to be employed for twenty-one years, after which there was a relapse into the old system. It was dangerous to go abroad after dark without a lantern, and the streets, with a few wayfarers, guided by this humble illumination, must have presented a spectacle not unlike some gloomy country path, with here and there a traveler.

Inns, of course, which still wore the appearance of the old hotels, and have left a relic for example in the yard of the Spread Eagle, and a more notable one in that of the Talbot, Southwark, had their conspicuous signs, including animals known and unknown, and heads without end. From their huge and hospitable gateways all the public conveyances of London took their departure; and in an alphabetical list of these, in 1684, the daily outgoings average forty-one, but the numbers in one day are very unequal to those in another, seventy-one departing on a Thursday, and only nine on a Tuesday. As there was only one conveyance at a time to the same place, we have a remarkable illustration in this record of the public provision for traveling, as well as the stay-at-home habits of our good forefathers of the middle class, about a century and a half ago. The gentry and nobility were the chief travelers, and they performed their expeditions on horseback, or in their own coaches. As to the number of the inhabitants in London, at the close of the century, only an approximation to the fact can be made, for no census of the population was taken. According to the number of deaths, it is computed there were about half a million of souls-a population seventeen times larger than that of the second town in the kingdom, three times greater than that of Amsterdam, and more than those of Paris and Rome, or Paris and Rouen put together. Though the amount of trade was small compared with what it is now, yet the sum of more than thirty thousand a year, in the shape of customs, (it is more than eleven millions now,) filled our ancestors with astonishment. Writers of that day speak of the masts of the ships in the river as resembling a forest, and of the wealth of the merchants, according to the notions of the day, as princelike. More men, wrote Sir Josiah Child in 1688, were to be found upon the Exchange of London, worth ten thousand pounds than thirty years before there were worth one thousand. He adds, there were one hundred coaches kept now for one formerly; and remarks, that a serge gown, once worn by a gentlewoman, was now discarded by a chambermaid. The manufactures of the country were greatly increased and wonderfully improved by the arrival of multitudes of French artisans in 1685, on the revocation of the edict of Nantes. "An entire suburb of London," says Voltaire, in his Siècle de Louis XIV., "was peopled with French manufacturers of silk; others carried thither the art of making crystal in perfection, which has been since this epoch lost in France." Spitalfields is the suburb alluded to; thousands besides were located in Soho and St. Giles's. "London," observes Chamberlayne, in 1692, "is a large magazine of men, money, ships, horses, and ammunition; of all sorts of commodities, necessary or expedient for the use or pleasure of mankind. It is the mighty rendezvous of nobility, gentry, courtiers, divines, lawyers, physicians, merchants, seamen, and all kinds of excellent artificers of the most refined arts, and most excellent beauties; for it is observed, that in most families of England, if there be any son or daughter that excels the rest in beauty or wit, or perhaps courage or industry, or any other rare quality, London is their north star, and they are never at rest till they point directly thither."

[1] He mentions his preaching once at St. Dunstan's church, when an accident occurred, which alarmed the vast concourse, and was likely to have occasioned much mischief. He relates the odd circumstance of an old woman, squeezed in the crowd, asking forgiveness of God at the church door, and promising, if he would deliver her that time she would never come to the place again.

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