« PrejšnjaNaprej »
scribing him as having been seen at the Ship in a narrow street near Wapping; who proceeding thither, and sedulously inquiring, the quondam chancellor was traced to a common dark taproom, unshaven, and disguised as a sailor in a ragged blue. jacket and knee-trousers, drinking porter with some colliers, to hide suspicion; when he was at once recognised, openly accused, and, after a struggle, he was pointed out and captured: for no sooner was it known that the prize was the bloodstained Chancellor Jefferies than all the neighbourhood became parties to his capture, and the commotion in consequence became alarming.
They hired a boat, crossed the Thames into Kent, and under a strong escort marched him over London Bridge back into the city; where, inquiring for the lord-mayor, they relinquished their prisoner into his hands, upon receiving his sacred assurance that he should be secured in the Tower, and given up to be tried by the offended laws of his country.
It was said that the rage and indignation of the multitude who surrounded the culprit exceeded description, and that the lord-mayor, certain aldermen, and other city authorities whom they hastily met in the city, and who supported him with becoming spirit, had the utmost difficulty in preventing the enraged populace from tearing Jefferies to pieces; and when they reached that dread fortress the Tower, it is supposed that they were accompanied by twenty thousand people, who filled the air with their howlings and execrations. When they entered upon the first bridge in that state prison, an old field-officer of the garrison, whose brother's son had been condemned by Jefferies and hanged at Dorchester, observed, his grey hairs standing erect, "Look! behold the murderer! Death and hell by turns have already taken possession of his livid visage !" But when the prison-door was closed upon him, he uttered a shriek, stared wildly about him, and staggering round the apartment, fell into a swoon!
During his incarceration his perturbed conscience appeared in indescribable agony. He was constantly talking to himself, or loudly groan
ing; and gave such appalling shrieks, though two of the wardens remained with him day and night, that the other inmates of the place who enjoyed their liberty lived in terror, and the nightly guards remained at their posts in a state of the greatest disquietude. Yet spite of the knowledge of these troublous events, which every one knew, such is the frowardness of the wicked spirit of party, that even in the Tower, at this very time, there were some few adherents to the cause of the bigot prince, even amongst the garrison, who secretly toasted him, and prided themselves in their obduracy for remaining Jacobites!
About the year 1776, a party was proposed in the Temple, to which Dr. Samuel Johnson was invited, to meet Sir Joshua Reynolds, Garrick, Mr. Beauclerk, the Hon. John Byng, Mr. Wyndham, Dr. Brocklesby, and a few other distinguished persons, named by Dr. Richard Burney. The party originated with this musical doctor, he having won a wager from Garrick on a question about the Temple organ, as to who was the builder thereof, when it was satisfactorily proved that the ingenious German mechanic, Fader Schmidt, was the man; and every one was satisfied with the testimony of the learned Burney in the German's favour.
The day appointed for this meeting fell upon the 5th of November; and Dr. Burney presided at the organ of the Temple church, by favour of the organist. All the party attended the morning service there.
It appears that this Jefferies, who had chambers in the Temple, and possessed great influence amongst the principals of that ancient law fraternity, was, whilst a young man, universally admired for his versatile talent and many engaging qualities. He was a favourite in the green-room at the Duke of York's theatre in Dorset Gardens, an amateur performer in the drama, a good comic singer, and famed for performing the favourite song of "Old Rowley," a satire on King Charles II. He was, as his contemporary, Tom d'Urfey, said, the great patron of tavern clubs, and the most joyous of all the celebrated convives of his day.
It being determined to set up an
organ in the Temple church, by a general subscription fund to be raised by the Templars; and the question being long debated who should receive the commission to erect it, several rival candidates applied, and the subscribers were long in coming to a determination; when, at a meeting held at the Devil and St. Dunstan tavern, hard by the entrance gate, Jefferies made so able a speech, and evinced such superior tact and general information upon the question, that by a large majority he was empowered to decide the matter; and after hearing each instrument, his preference was at once adopted in favour of Father Schmidt, a German organ-builder; and his fiat was the means of making Schmidt's fortune.
Jefferies, amongst his other qualifications, was an extraordinary mimic, and his imitations of the AngloGerman (as pronounced by Father Schmidt) were quite unique. Betterton, the tragedian, and his accomplished wife, and their protégée the celebrated Mrs. Oldfield, on hearing him at their supper-table one night, were enraptured, and became entirely convulsed with laughter.
About the year 1740, the celebrated Samuel Johnson, then one of the writers for the Gentleman's Magazine, lived in great intimacy with certain Scotchmen, and sometimes mixed in a club, chiefly composed of Jacobites, who assembled in the first floor of an obsolete tavern in Little Britain. One of the members thereof, a tall, thin, grey-headed man, had personally known the late King James, and was in his army at the battle of the Boyne. This Scot was a man of whom Johnson seldom spoke but with reminiscences of the fondest regard: "For at that time,” said Johnson, "I frequently stood in need of a dinner; but this venerable Jacobite supplied my need, and performed the office with such a noble and disinterested grace (though his income, which he acquired solely by his pen, was not half the sum which his rare talent merited), that I can scarce recur to his generous memory without tears. Poor, dear Macallister! we often disputed, and I remember more than once calling him a savage; but then I qualified the offensive epithet by declaring that he inherited the noble qualities of a savage.
"The period of which I speak,” said Johnson, was within half a century of the glorious Revolution, and many individuals of this Jacobite fraternity were even then (remember they were natives of the north) apparently in their prime; and having no fear of me, they spoke their minds without reserve.
"From these men I acquired much information of the days of James; and amongst other things that Jefferies remained uncorrupted until the ladies of the court, particularly those about the queen, who were Catholic bigots, and were enamoured with his pleasantries by their dark ever
It is evident that some of the family of Jefferies had a predilection for humour, for his near relation, who was an alderman and merchant, residing in Queen Street, Cheapside, a man beloved, and of considerable influence, obtained for young Jefferies much practice as a barrister, and afterwards some valuable law appointments there; when, at length, being engaged in an affair in which the Duke of York was materially concerned, and obtaining the royal duke's entire approbation, from that time he was retained as his legal adviser.
At a convivial meeting held at the
as an incorruptible lawyer, and one who gave no quarter to any individual of his own profession who was proved guilty of prevarication or malpractices. Strange that a man
who had commenced so well should have become so changed! Latterly, he became so irascible that, even as he presided in the Court of Chancery, his language was often unendurable -so grossly intemperate, indeed, as to terrify those whom he interrogated, by reviling them in the coarsest language, and designating them by epithets too vulgar to bear repetition.
The lawyer by whose vigilance he was discovered at the Ship pot-house, at Deptford, reminded him of his gross phraseology as they crossed the Thames in a boat, just after he was taken. 66 Now, my lord-chancellor," said he, "I may cry lex talionis. We are on the water, and may be as abusive as we list, according to the custom of the blackguard boatmen. Yes, my lord, that collier's jacket and swab petticoat trousers become you well: it is more characteristic of your abusive tongue than the chancellor's robe or his wig. Suppose I should now play the ruffian as you did to me, and throw back your own vile epithets into your own villain face, and repeat, You dirty, uncombed, lousy, nitty reptile?" But, no; I shall leave you to feed, or to fast, on your own reflections."
Dr. Burney, after dinner, entertained the party with a luminous history of the organ, from the time of Peter Aritine, who was the celebrated counter-puntist, several centuries ago; and, to the surprise of the company, Dr. Johnson chimed in with him, and shewed the extensive powers of his memory and the vast extent of his reading; for as his friend, the great orator Burke, often observed, "He has read every thing, and forgets nothing."
The subject of the powder plot of 1604, naturally enough, considering the anniversary of the day on which the party dined, was discussed; and Johnson adverted to the horrid custom of the torture, which was resorted to on the examination of
certain of the conspirators in this horrible plot, and very ably and severely commented upon by him. "We have cause to feel proud as Britons, to know that the torture was first abolished in England," said he.
The doctor then branched off into a general history of the many conspiracies which had originated with the Romanists against the Reformers; and remarked that their experience had neither taught them prudence nor caution, for every attempt to obtain the ascendancy which they so eagerly sought has proved abortive, and the parties oppressed have invariably survived the evils of persecution, and lived "mightily to tower above their enemies, and put them to shame."
The last act of James's egregious folly and short-sightedness was manifested on the day after the seven bishops were acquitted and liberated; for the king was dining in the camp at Hounslow, at the table of the general commander, Lord Feversham. His majesty had in the morning been reviewing the troops at the camp, and all seemed to go on well; but in the midst of the dinner a general shout was heard from the camp, attended with the most extravagant symptoms of tumultuary joy.
"What is that noise?" inquired James.
'Nothing particular," answered the commander-in-chief. "It is nothing but the rejoicing of the soldiers for the acquittal of the bishops."
James was visibly affected, looked angry, suddenly became pale, and observed, "Do you call that nothing? But so much the worse for them."
"Man proposeth, and God disposeth," said the Princess Anne, when her husband, Prince George of Denmark, privately communicated this event to her. For from that moment all reliance upon the loyalty of his soldiers vanished as it had been a dream; and the fatal reality remained" that her royal father had been relying on a broken reed." She raised her prophetic hands, and exclaimed, "Now, indeed, all is lost!"
ON MEN AND PICTURES.
À PROPOS OF A WALK IN THE LOUVRE.
In the days of my youth I knew a young fellow that I shall here call Tidbody, and who, born in a provincial town of respectable parents, had been considered by the drawingmaster of the place, and, indeed, by the principal tea-parties there, as a great genius in the painting line, and one that was sure to make his fortune.
When he had made portraits of his grandmother, of the house-dog, of the door-knocker, of the church and parson of the place, and had copied, tant bien que mal, the most of the prints that were to be found in the various houses of the village, Harry Tidbody was voted to be very nearly perfect; and his honest parents laid out their little savings in sending the lad to Rome and Paris.
I saw him in the latter town in the year 32, before an immense easel, perched upon a high stool, and copying with perfect complacency a Correggio in the gallery, which he thought he had imitated to a nicety. No misgivings ever entered into the man's mind that he was making an ass of himself; he never once paused to consider that his copy was as much like the Correggio as my nose is like the Apollo's. But he rose early of mornings, and scrubbed away all day with his macgilps and varnishes; he worked away through cold and through sunshine; when other men were warming their fingers at the stoves, or wisely lounging on the Boulevard, he worked away, and thought he was cultivating art in the purest fashion, and smiled with easy scorn upon those who took the world more easily than he. Tidbody drunk water with his meals-if meals those miserable scraps of bread and cheese, or bread and sausage, could be called, which he lined his lean stomach with; and voted those persons godless gluttons who recreated themselves with brandy and beef. He rose up at daybreak, and worked away with bladder and brush; he passed all night at life-academies, designing life-guardsmen with chalk and stump; he never was known to teko any other recreation; and in
ten years he had spent as much time over his drawing as another man spends in thirty. At the end of his second year of academical studies, Harry Tidbody could draw exactly as well as he could eight years after. He had visited Florence, and Rome, and Venice, in the interval; but there he was as he had begun, without one single farther idea, and not an inch nearer the goal at which he aimed.
One day, at the Life-academy in St. Martin's Lane, I saw before me the back of a shock head of hair and a pair of ragged elbows, belonging to a man in a certain pompous attitude which I thought I recognised; and when the model retired behind his curtain to take his ten minutes' repose, the man belonging to the back in question turned round a little, and took out an old snuffy cotton handkerchief and wiped his forehead and lank cheekbones, that were moist with the vast mental and bodily exertions of the night. Harry Tidbody was the man in question.
years he had spent at least three thousand nights in copying the model. When abroad, perhaps, he had passed the Sunday evenings too in the same rigorous and dismal pastime. He had piles upon piles of grey paper at his lodgings, covered with worthless nudities in black and white chalk.
At the end of the evening we shook hands, and I asked him how the arts flourished. The poor fellow, with a kind of dismal humour that formed a part of his character, twirled round upon the iron heels of his old patched Blucher boots, and shewed me his figure for answer. Such a lean, long, ragged, fantastical-looking personage, it would be hard to match out of the drawing-schools.
Tit, my boy," said he, when he had finished his pirouette, "you may sce that the arts have not fattened me as yet; and, between ourselves, I make by my profession something considerably less than a thousand a-year. But, mind you, I am not discouraged; my whole soul is in my calling; I can't do any thing else if I would; and I will be a painter, or die in the attempt.' Tidbody is not dead, I am happy
to say, but has a snug place in the Excise of eighty pounds a-year, and now only exercises the pencil as an amateur. If his story has been told here at some length, the ingenious reader may fancy that there is some reason for it. In the first place, there is so little to say about the present exhibition at Paris, that your humble servant does not know how to fill his pages without some digressions; and, secondly, the Tidbodian episode has a certain moral in it, without which it never would have been related, and which is good for all artists to read.
It came to my mind upon examining a picture of sixty feet by forty (indeed, it cannot be much smaller), which takes up a good deal of room in the large room of the Louvre. But of this picture anon. Let us come to the general considerations.
Why the deuce will men make light of that golden gift of mediocrity which for the most part they possess, and strive so absurdly at the sublime? What is it that makes a fortune in this world but energetic mediocrity? What is it that is so respected and prosperous as good, honest, emphatic, blundering dulness, bellowing commonplaces with its great healthy lungs, kicking and struggling with its big feet and fists, and bringing an awe-stricken public down on its knees before it? Think, my good sir, of the people who occupy your attention and the world's. Who are they? Upon your honour and conscience now, are they not persons with thews and sinews like your own, only they use them with somewhat more activity with a voice like yours, only they shout a little louder-with the average portion of brains, in fact, but working them more? But this kind of disbelief in heroes is very offensive to
the world, it must be confessed. There, now, is The Times newspaper, which the other day rated your humble servant for publishing an account of one of the great humbugs of modern days, viz. the late funeral of Napoleon-which rated me, I say, and talked in its own grave, roaring way, about the flippancy and conceit of Titmarsh.
O you thundering old Times ! Napoleon's funeral was a humbug, and your constant reader said so. The people engaged in it were humbugs, and this your Michael Angelo hinted at. There may be irreverence in this, and the process of humbughunting may end rather awkwardly for some people. But, surely, there is no conceit. The shamming of modesty is the most pert conceit of all, the précieuse affectation of deference where you don't feel it, the sneaking acquiescence in lies. It is very hard that a man may not tell the truth as he fancies it, without being accused of conceit but so the world wags. As has already been prettily shewn in that before-mentioned little book about Napoleon, that is still to be had of the publisher's, there is a ballad in the volume, which, if properly studied, will be alone worth two-and-sixpence to any man.
Well, the funeral of Napoleon was a humbug; and being so, what was a man to call it? What do we call a rose? Is it disrespectful to the pretty flower to call it by its own innocent name? And, in like manner, are we bound, out of respect for society, to speak of humbug only in a circumlocutory way-to call it something else, as they say some Indian people do their devil-to wrap it up in riddles and charades? Nothing is easier. Take, for instance, the following couple of sonnets on the subject:
The glad spring sun shone yesterday, as Mr.
The birds sang salutations to the spring;
Already buds and leaves from branches burst: "The surly winter time hath done its worst," Said Michael; "Lo, the bees are on the wing!"