Page images

sous Committees appointed in various counties for the detection and punishment of those loyal persons who were then denominated MALIGNANTS, and for the purpose of sequestring their estates, and the benefices of such of the Clergy as refused to take the Covenant, or to comply with the injunctions of the Directory. Another of his opponents, Villiers,

[ocr errors]

It is not quite clear whether the words—“A sequestrator and Committee-man,” were intended to be applied to Dryden, or to Noll's Lord Chamberlain ; but I think the former was the author's meaning.

Again, in another poem, (which seems to have origi. nally appeared in 1687, and is re-printed in a Miscellanc. ous Collection by R. Cross, 8vo. 1747,) entitled “ THE PROTESTANT SATIRE, or some Reason, not all Rhyme," &c.

“ He honest kept as long as c'er he could, .“ But glitering guineas cannot be withstood,

'" And Bayes was of Committec-man's flesh and blood." Here also there is some ambiguity; for the last line may relate either to his father or himself.

The couplet alluded to in the first of the foregoing extracts, is in our author's Verses on Cromwell :

“ He fought, to end our fighting, and essay'd
“ To staunch the blood by breathing of the vein."

1 " Those factious and puritannical Ministers, (says Walker in his “ Attempt towards recovering an Account of the Number and Sufferings of the Clergy," &c. fol. 1715. Pref.) who had revolted to the Parliament, and werc by them thrust into as many pulpits as they could fill, had it in their instructions to traduce the Episcopal Ministers as papists, or popishly affected, and to represent

Duke of Buckingham, with more probability, asserts, that his father was a Committec-man. Great .

them to the people as lazy, idle, ignorant curates, enemies to godliness, and overrun with the foulest and grossest immoralities. As this poison worked throughout the kingdom, Committees were appointed in parliament for im-: prisoning and sequestring those ignorant and scandalous (that is loyal and episcopal) Ministers. These made a considerable progress with the best of the Clergy. But for the greater ease and encouragement of informers, and thereby to complete the reformation, it was judged far. ther necessary to erect Committces in all the countics, cities, and greater towns, in the kingdom; and to furnish them with a power of sequestring as well the temporals (whether real or personal) as the spirituals of the MALIGNANT CLERGY ; which was accordingly done. And this work prospered so well in their hands, that soon after they proceeded to abolish the church-government itself, to put down all the cathedrals, and to seize the whole revcuucs of those ancicnt and Icarried bodies.' Nor did they stop here ; but diverse other sorts of Committecs and Commissioners were from time to time appointed, as well to perfect the ruin of the clergy, as to purge the Universities of all persons who had any pretence either to learning or loyalıy. Both which purposes they so far cffected by a continued course of well near twenty years' persecution, that errours, heresics, and blasphemies without number, filled many of the pulpits; and the Ministry itself was deemed at last anti-Christian." ..

In like manner Committees were appointed in every county for the sequestration of the estates of lay delinquents, as thcy were termed; and the sequestrators of cach kind had salaries. These Committecs, in their persecution of the laity as well as the clergy, were guilty of the greatest

enormities certainly were practised by persons inyested with that, office; but Dryden being ac

injustice and oppression. As soon as the property of a MALIGNANT, that is, of a loyalist, was ascertained, he was thrown into prison ; which was so common a prac.. tice that Roger Coke says, (Detection, vol. ii. p. 65,) he believes his “ father was the only man in England who was sequestered without being imprisoned." From this confinement the loyalist was never liberated but on the condition of paying a considerable fine, which was often two years' revenue of his estate, and sometimes much more. The iniquity of the proceedings of these petty tyrants, in dividing among themselves the property of such loyalists as refused to take the Covenant, is painted with great accuracy in Sir Robert Howard's comedy entitled. The COMMITTEE.. What enormities were prac. rised in the sequestration of livings, may be seen in Wal. ker's Sufferings of the Clergy, from p. 63 to p.97, and in Ryves's MERCURIUS RUSTICUS... Sce there particularly the case of Thomas Swift, Vicar of Goodrich, in Here. fordshire, whose wife (a kinswoman of our author,) was robbed by one of these sequestrators of all her houschold goods, some of which she repurchased from her plun. dercr, and then she was pillaged a second time of the very articles for which she had compounded.

« POETICAL REFLECTIONS on a poem entitled AB. SALOM AND ACHITOPHEL, by a Person of Honour,”(who according to Antony Wood, was Villiers, Duke of Buck. ingham,) appeared in December 1681.-This poem, which is so extremely scarce that I have never seen but one copy of it, opens with the following lines, which I subjoin in confirination of the fact stated above, and as a specimen of his Grace's genuine uncrutched poetry:

knowledged by his contemporaries to have possessed much good nature and philanthropy, I am willing to believe that if ever he did execute such an office, his cares were directed rather to restrain and qualify the excesses of others, than in any way to contribute to them. He is at this time also said to have successively favoured the sects of anabaptists and independents;"s which, considering

“ When late Protectorship was canon-proof,
"And cap-a-pè had seiz'd on Whitehall roof,
“ And next on Israclitcs durst look so big,
“ That, Tory-likc, it lor'd not much the Whig,
“ A poct there starts up, of wondrous fame;
" Whether Scribe or Pharisce, his race doth name :
“ Or more to intriguc the metaphor of man,
.“ Got on a Muse by father Publican. *
“ For 'tis not harder much, if we tax nature,
“ That lines should give a poet such a feature,
“ Than that his verse a hero should us show,
“ Produced by such a feat, as famous too.
“ His iningle such, what inan presumes to think
" But he can figures daub with pen and ink,"

At this rate his Grace proceeds through een folio pages, containing three hundred and fifteen lines.

The Duke of Buckinghain came from France into England in 1657, and then married the dauglier of Tho. mas, Lord Fairfax, by whose interest le redeemed his great estate from the hands of sequestrators :--- so that he is good evidence for the fact nientioned in the text.

s Dr. Johnson doubted whether Derrick had any au. thority for mentioning this circumstance. His authority

[merged small][ocr errors]

his family connexions, is not improbable. Thus circumstanced, we see that one of his carliest

was probably the lampoons of the last age. Thus in THE LAUREATE, a poem, first published in folio in Oc.

lamponi e lublished in olio in in tober 1687, and reprinted in the State Poems, vol. ü. p. 129: “ Had Dick still kept the regal diadem, “ Thou had'st been Poet Laureate unto him; “ And long ere now in lofty verse proclaim'd “ His high extraction among princes famid; “ Nay, had our Charles by heaven's severc decree “ Been found and murder'd in the royal tree, “ Even thou had'st prais'd the fact :- his father slain “ Thou call'dst but gently breathing of a vein. “ Tell me, for 'tis a truth you must allow, Who ever chang'd more in one moon than thou ? “ Even thy own Zimri was more stedfast known, “ Hc had but one religion, or had none. “ What sect of Christians is't thou hast not known, " And at one time or other made thy own? “ A bristled baptist bred; and then thy strain “ Immaculate, was free from sinful stain : “ No songs in those blest times thou did'st produce, “ To brand and shame good manners out of use.... “ Next thy dull Muse, an independent jade, “ On sacred tyranny fine stanzas made ; “ Prais'd Noll, who even to both extremes did run,

“To kill the father, and dethrone thc son." . So, in THE PROTESTANT Satire, &c. ut supr. ' “ Thus needy Bayes, his Rose-street aches past, i “ By fate enlighten'd, Tory turns at last ;

“ 'Though bred a saint, he was not born to fast." See also Langbaine's “ Account of the Dramatick Poets,”

« PreviousContinue »