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LIFE OF ST. FRANCIS XAVIER.:
TO THE QUEEN. 8 MADAM,
The reverend author of this Life, in his Dedication to his most Christian Majesty, affirms, that France was owing for him to the intercession
7 “ The Life of St. Francis Xavier, of the Society of Jesus, Apostle to the Indies and Japan,” was translated by our author from the French of the Jesuit, Do. minic Bohurs, and published in 8vo. early in the year 1688.-Our author doubtless undertook this task, in consequence of the Queen, when she solicited a son, having recommended herself to Xavier as her patron saint.
In the STATE POEMS, (vol. i. part 2, p. 184,) we find a ballad, which in my copy is attributed in a MS. note to Thomas, Lord Wharton, and probably at that time was very popular. It is entitled “ The Miracle: how the Duchess of Modena, being in heaven, prayed the B. Virgin that the Queen might have a son ; and how our lady sent the Angel Gabriel with her smock; upon which the Queen was with child.”—The son, of whom she was delivered, June 10, 1688, who was christened James Francis Edward, but was better known by the title of THE PRETENDER, died at Rome in 1766.
8 Of Mary of Este, the second wife of James the Second, (who was born Sept, 25, 1658,) some account has already been given. See vol. i. p. 385, n. 3.
of St. Francis Xavier : that Anne of Austria, his mother, after twenty years of barrenness, had recourse to heaven by her fervent prayers to draw down that blessing, and addressed her devotions in a particular manner to this holy apostle of the Indies. I know not, Madam, whether I may presume to tell the world, that your Majesty has chosen this great saint for one of yout celestial patrons, though I am sure you will never be ashamed of owning so glorious an intercessor ; not even in a country where the doctrine of the holy church is questioned, and those religious addresses ridiculed. Your Majesty, I doubt not, has the inward satisfaction of knowing that such pious prayers have not been unprofitable to you, and the nation may one day come to understand how happy
Since that note was written, I have observed that Fenton, in his Remarks on Waller, has furnished us with a more particular description of this lady, as it should seem from a manuscript Journal of Henry, the second Earl of Peterborough, who conducted her from Modena to England; who, he observes, as she is described by that nobleman, in the bloom of her youth rivalled the fancied charms of Tasso's Armida. “ She was tall and admirably shaped; her complexion was of the last fair. ness; her hair as black as jet; so were her eyebrows and her eyes; but the latter so full of light and sweetness, as that they did dazzle and charm too: there seemed given to them from nature sovereign power; power to kill, and power to save; and in the whole turn of her face, which was the most graceful that could be framed, there was all the features, all the beauty, and all that could be great and charming, in any human creature."
She died at St. Germains, April 26, 1718.
it will be for them to have a Son of Prayers ruling over them. Not that we are wholly to depend on this particular blessing as a thing of certainty, though we hope and pray for its continuance. The ways of Divine Providence are incomprehensible, and we know not in what times, or by what methods, God will restore his church in England, or what farther trials and afflictions we are yet to undergo : only this we know, that if a religion be of God, it can never fail ; but the acceptable time we must patiently expect, and endeavour by our lives not to undeserve. I am sure, if we take the example of our sovereigns, we shall place our confidence in God alone ; we shall be assiduous in our devotions, moderate in our expectations, humble in our carriage, and forgiving of our enemies.
All other panegyricks I purposely omit ; but those of Christianity are such, that neither your Majesty, nor my royal master, need be ashamed of them, because their conmemoration is instructive to your subjects. We may be allowed, Madam, to praise Almighty God for making us happy by your means, without suspicion of flattery, and the meanest subject has the privilege of joining his thanksgiving with his sovereign's, where his happiness is equally concerned. May it not be permitted me to add, that to be remembered and celebrated in afterages, as the chosen vessel by which it has pleased the Almighty Goodness to transmit so great a blessing to these nations, is a secret satisfaction which is not forbidden you to
take: the blessings of your people are a prelibation of the joys in heaven, and a lawful ambition here on earth.
Your Majesty is authorized by the greatest example of a mother, to rejoice in a promised son. The Blessed Virgin was not without as great a proportion of joy as humanity could bear, when she answered the salutation of the angel in expressions which seemed to unite the contradicting terms of calmness and of transport,—“ Be it to thy handmaid according to thy word.”
It is difficult for me to leave this subject, but more difficult to pursue it as I ought; neither must I presume to detain your Majesty by a long address. The life of Saint Francis Xavier, after it had been written by several authors in the Spanish and Portuguese, and by the famous Padre Bartoli, in the Italian tongue, came out at length in French, by the celebrated pen of father Bouhours, from whom I have translated it, and humbly erave leave to dedicate it to your patronage. I question not but it will undergo the censure of those men, who teach the people that miracles are ceased. Yet there are, I presume, a sober party of the protestants, and even of the most learned among them, who being convinced by the concurring testimonies of the last age, by the suffrages of whole nations in the Indies and Japan, and by the severe scrutinies that were made before the act of canonization, will not dispute the truth of most matters of fact, as they are here related ; nay, some may be ingenuous enough to own