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have been, at least, as highly considered in Europe under a legitimate king, strong in the affection and willing obedience of his subjects, as she had been under an usurper whose utmost vigilance and energy were required to keep down a mutinous people. Yet she had, in consequence of the imbecility and meanness of her rulers, sunk so low, that any German or Italian principality which brought five thousand men into the field, was a more important member of the commonwealth of nations. With the sense of national humiliation was mingled anxiety for civil liberty. Rumours, indistinct indeed, but perhaps the more alarming by reason of their indistinctness, imputed to the Court a deliberate design against all the constitutional rights of Englishmen. It had even been whispered that this design was to be carried into effect by the intervention of foreign arms. The thought of such intervention made the blood, even of the Cavaliers, boil in their veins. Some who had always professed the doctrine of non-resistance in its full extent, were now heard to mutter that there was one limitation to that doctrine. If a foreign force were brought over to coerce the nation, they would not answer for their own patience. But neither national pride nor anxiety for public liberty had so great an influence on the popular mind as hatred of the Roman Catholic religion. That hatred had become one of the ruling passions of the community, and was as strong in the ignorant and profane as in those who were Protestants from conviction. The cruelties of Mary's reign—cruelties which even in the most accurate and sober narrative excite just detestation, and which were neither accurately nor soberly related in the popular martyrologies—the conspiracies against I'lizabeth, and above all, the Gunpowder Plot, had left in the minds of the vulgar a deep and bitter feeling, which was kept up by annual commemorations, prayers, bonfires, and processions. It should be added that those classes which were peculiarly distinguished by attachment to the throne, the clergy and the landed gentry, had peculiar reasons for regarding the Church of Rome with aversion. The clergy trembled for their benefices, the landed gentry for their abbeys and great tithes. While the memory of the reign of the Saints was still recent, hatred of Popery had in some degree given place to hatred of Puritanism; but during the eighteen years which had elapsed since the Restoration, the hatred of Puritanism had abated, and the hatred of Popery had increased. . . . The King was suspected by many of a leaning towards Rome. His brother and heir-presumptive was known to be a bigoted Roman Catholic. The first Duchess of York had died a Roman Catholic. James had then, in defiance of the remonstrances of the House of Commons, taken to wife the Princess Mary of Modena, another Roman Catholic. . If there should be sons by this marriage, there was reason to fear that they might be bred Roman Catholics, and that a long succession of princes hostile to the established faith might sit on the English throne. The constitution had recently been violated for the purpose of protecting the Roman Catholics from the penal laws. The ally by whom the policy of England had during many years been chiefly governed, was not only a Roman Catholic, but a persecutor of the Reformed Churches. under such circumstances, it is not strange that the common people should have been inclined to apprehend a return of the times of her whom they called Bloody Mary.” Such was the unhappy state of affairs at this period, and though its effect is soon shown in the advertisement columns of the papers, one would think times were piping and peaceful indeed to read the following, extracted from the Zondon Gazette of October 15–19, 1674:—
IV/TEAALZ, October 17.-A square Diamond with his Majesty's
Arms upon it having been this day lost out of a seal in or about Whitehall, or St James's Park or House; Any person that shall have found the same is required to bring it to William Chiffinch, Esq., Keeper of his Majesty's Closet, and he shall have ten pounds for a Reward.
Doubtless this Chiffinch, the degraded being who lived but to pander to the debauched tastes of his royal and profligate employer, thought nothing of politics or of the signs of the times, and contented himself with the affairs of the Backstairs, caring little for Titus Oates, and less for his victims. Some short time after the foregoing was published (March 20–23, 1675), Chiffinch published another loss in the Gazette. This is it —
FLOWN out of St James's Park, on Thursday night last, a Goose
and a Gander, brought from the river Gambo in the East Indies, on the Head, Back and Wings they are of a shining black, under the Throat about the Eyes and the Belly white. They have Spurs on the pinions of the Wings, about an inch in length, the Beaks and Legs of a muddy red; they are shaped like a Muscovy Mallard, but larger and longer legg'd. Whoever gives notice to Mr Chiffinch at Whitehall, shall be well rewarded.
Whether the prince of pimps ever had to give the reward, we are not in a position to state ; we should, however, think that his advertisement attracted little attention, for we are now in the midst of the excitement which led to the pretended plots and troubles that made every man suspect his neighbour, and when the cry of Recusant or Papist was almost fatal to him against whom it was directed. That this feeling once roused was not to be subdued even in death, is shown by a notice in the Domestick Intelligence of
July 22, 1679:
WHEREAs it was mentioned in the last “Intelligence” that Mr Langhorn was buried in the Temple Church, there was a mistake in it, for it was a Loyal Gentleman, one Colonel Acton, who was at that time buried by his near relations there: And Mr Langhorn was buried that day in the Churchyard of St Giles-in-the-Fields, very near the five Jesuits who were executed last. John Playford, Clerke to the Temple Church.
Here is intolerance with a vengeance, but in the year 1679 reverence for persons or things was conspicuously absent, and this is best shown by the advertisement which was issued for the purpose of discovering the ruffians, or their patron, who committed the brutal assault upon John Dryden. It appears in the Zondon Gazette of December 22, 1679:
WHERE's John Dryden, Esq., was on Monday, the 18th instant,
at night, barbarously assaulted and wounded, in Rose Street in Covent Garden,"by divers men unknown ; if any person shall make discovery of the said offenders to the said Mr Dryden, or to any Justice of the Peace, he shall not only receive Fifty Pounds, which is deposited in the hands of Mr Blanchard, Goldsmith, next door to Temple Bar, for the said purpose, but if he be a principal or an accessory in the said fact, his Majesty is graciously pleased to promise him his pardon for the same.
Notwithstanding the offer of this money, it was never discovered who were the perpetrators, or who was the instigator of this cudgelling. Some fancy its promoter was Rochester, who was offended at some allusions to him in . an “Essay on Satire,” written jointly by Dryden and Lord Mulgrove; while others declare that the vanity of the Duchess of Portsmouth, one of the King's many mistresses, having been offended by a jeu d'esprit of the poet's, she procured him a rough specimen of her favours. Others, again, have suspected Buckingham, who was never on the best of terms with Dryden, and who sat for the portrait drawn in Zimri (“Absalom and Achitophel”); but profligate and heartless libertine as Villiers was, he was above such a ruffianly reprisal. In the Domestick Inte//igence of December 23, 1679, the assault is thus described : “Upon the 17th instant in the evening Mr Dryden the great poet, was set upon in Rose Street in Covent Garden, by three persons, who, calling him rogue, and son of a whore, knockt him down and dangerously wounded him, but upon his crying out murther, they made their escape; it is conceived that they had their pay beforehand, and designed not to rob him but to execute on him some Feminine, if not Popish, vengeance.” In a subsequent number of the same paper there is the following advertisement:
Wools there has been printed of late an Advertisement about
the Discovery of those who assaulted Mr Dryden, with a promise of pardon and reward to the Discoverer; For his further encouragement, this is to give notice, that if the said Discoverer shall make Ånown the Person who incited them to that unlawful action, not only the Discoverer himself, but any of those who committed the fact, shall be freed from all manner of prosecution.
As a seasonable illustration we present an exact sacsimile of a newspaper containing reference to the attack. It is complete as it appears, being simply a single leaf printed back and front, and so the stories of men repeating a whole newspaper from memory are not so wonderful after all. This year (1679) is memorable among journalists as being the first which saw a rising press emancipated, a fact which is sufficiently interesting to be chronicled here, although our subject is not newspapers, but only the advertisements contained in them.”
During all this time it must not be supposed that the vendors of quack medicines were at all idle. No political or religious disturbance was ever allowed to interfere with them, and their notices appeared as regularly as, or if possible more regularly than, ever. In a paper we have not before met, the Mercurius Ang/icus, date March 6–1 o, 1679 –8o, we are introduced for the first time to the cordial which was destined to become so popular among nurses with whom neither the natural milk nor that of human kindness was plentiful, viz., Daffy's Elixir –
WHos divers Persons have lately exposed to sale a counter
feit drink called ELIXIR SALUTIs, the true drink so called being first published by Mr Anthony Daffy, who is the only person that rightly and truly prepares it, he having experienced its virtues for above 20 years past, by God's blessing curing multitudes of people
* A nominal censorship was continued till 1695, but the freedom of the press is considered by many to date from the year named above, and an inspection of the papers themselves would seem to justify the opinion.