« 上一頁繼續 »
sideration; though I have heard the same worthy prelate aspersed and maligned since, upon this very account.
The term being so near, the alarm among the lawyers was inexpressible, though some of them, I was told, were so vain as to promise themselves some advantage in making their defence, by being versed in the practice of our earthly courts. It is said too, that some of the chief pleaders were heard to express great satisfaction, that there had been but few statetrials of late years. Several attornies demanded the return of fees, that had been given the lawyers : but it was answered, the fee was undoubtedly charged to their client, and that they could not connive at such injustice, as to suffer it to be sunk in the attorneys' pockets. Our sage and learned judges had great consolation, insomuch as they had not pleaded at the bar for several years; the barristers rejoiced in that they were not attorneys, and the attorneys felt no less satisfaction, that they were not pettifoggers, scriveners, and other meaner officers of the law.
As to the army, far be it from me to conceal the truth. Every soldier's behaviour was as undismayed, and undaunted, as if nothing was to happen: I'impute not this to their want of faith, but to their martial disposition ; though I cannot help thinking they commonly accompany their commands with more oatbs than are requisite, of which there was no remarkable diminution this morning on the parade in St. James's park. But possibly it was by choice, and on consideration, that they continued this way of expression, not to intimidate the common soldiers, or give occasion to suspect, that even the fear of damnation could make any impression upon their superiour officers. A duel was fought the same morning between two colonels, not occasioned (as was reported) because the one was put over the other's head; that being a point, which might at
such a juncture have been accommodated by the mediation of friends; but as this was upon the account of a lady, it was judged it could not be put off at this time, above all others, but demanded immediate satisfaction: I am apt to believe, that a young officer, who desired his surgeon to defer putting him into a salivation till Saturday, might make this request out of some opinion he had of the truth of the prophecy; for the apprehensions of any danger in the operation could not be his motive, the surgeon himself having assured me, that he had before undergone three severe operations of the like nature with great resignation and fortitude.
There was an order issued, that the chaplains of the several regiments should attend their duty; but as they were dispersed about in several parts of England, it was believed, that most of them could not be found, or so much as heard of, till the great day
Most of the considerable physicians by their outward demeanor seemed to be unbelievers; but at the same time, they every where insinuated, that there might be a pestilential malignancy in the air, occasioned by the comet, which might be armed against by proper and timely medicines. This caution had but little effect; for as the time approached, the christian resignation of the people increased, and most of them (which was never before known) had their souls more at heart than their bodies.
If the reverend clergy showed more concern than others, I charitably impute it to their great charge of souls; and what confirmed me in this opinion was, that the degrees of apprehension and terrour could be distinguished to be greater or less, according to their ranks and degrees in the church.
The like might be observed in all sorts of ministers, though not of the church of England; the higher their rank, the more was their fear.
I speak not of the court for fear of offence; and I forbear inserting the names of particular persons, to avoid the imputation of slander, so that the reader will allow the narrative must be deficient, and is therefore desired to accept hereof rather as a sketch, than a regular circumstantial history.
I was not informed of any persons, who showed the least joy; except three malefactors, who were to be executed on the Monday following, and one old man, a constant church-goer, who being at the point of death, expressed some satisfaction at the
On Thursday morning there was little or nothing transacted in 'Change-alley ; there were a multitude of sellers, but so few buyers, that one cannot affirm the stocks bore any certain price except among the Jews; who this day reaped great profit by their infidelity. There were many who called themselves Christians, who offered to buy for time, but as these were people of great distinction, I choose not to mention them, because in effect it would seem to accuse them both of avarice, and infidelity.
The run upon the Bank is too well known to need a particular relation : for it never can be forgotten, that no one person whatever (except the directors themselves, and some of their particular friends and associates) could convert a bill all that day into species; all hands being employed to serve them.
In the several churches of the city and suburbs there were seven thousand two hundred and fortyfive, who publickly and solemnly declared before the congregation, that they took to wife their several kept mistresses, which was allowed as valid marriage, the priests not having time to pronounce the eeremony in form.
At St. Bride's church in Fleet-street, Mr.Woolston (who writ against the miracles of our Saviour) in the utinost terrours of conscience, made a publick
recantation. Dr. Maudevil * (who had been groundlessly reported formerly to have done the same) did it now in good earnest at St. James's gate; as did also at the Temple church several gentlemen, who frequent coffeehouses near the bar. So great was the faith and fear of two of them, that they dropped dead on the spot; but I will not record their names, lest I should be thought invidiously to lay an odium on their families and posterity.
Most of the players, who had very little faith before, were now desirous of having as much as they could, and therefore embraced the Roman catholick religion: the same thing was observed of some -bawds, and ladies of pleasure.
In Irish gentleman out of pure friendship came to make me a visit, and advised me to hire a boat for the ensuing day, and told me, that unless I gave earnest for one immediately, he feared it might be too late; for his countrymen had secured almost every boat upon the river, as judging, that in the general conflagration, to be upon the water would be the safest place.
There were two lords, and three commoners, who, out of scruple of conscience, very hastily threw up their pensions, as imagining a pension was only an annual retaining bribe. All the other great pensioners, I was told, had their scruples quieted by a clergyman or two of distinction, whom they happily consulted.
It was remarkable, that several of our very richest tradesmen of the city, in common charity, gave away shillings and sixpences to the beggars, who plied about ihe church doors; and at a particular church in the city, a wealthy church warden with his own
Author of the Fable of the Bees, a book intended to subvert not only religion but virtue, by showing thar private vices are publick benefits. H.
hands distributed fifty twelvepenny loaves to the poor, by way of restitution for the many great and costly feasts, which he had eaten of at their expence.
Three great ladies, a valet de chambre, two lords, a customhouse officer, five half pay captains, and a baronet (all noted gamesters) came publickly into a church at Westminster, and deposited a very consid able sum of money in the minister's hands; the parties, whom they had defrauded, being either out of town, or not to be found. But so great is the hardness of heart of this fraternity, that anong either the noble, or vulgar gamesters (though the profession is so general) I did not hear of any other restitution of this sort. At the same time I must observe that (in comparison of these) through all parts of the town, the justice and penitence of the highwaymen, housebreakers, and common pick. pockets, was very remarkable.
The directors of our publick companies were in such dreadful apprehensions, that one would have thought a parliamentary inquiry was at hand; yet so great was their presence of inind, that all the Thurs. day niorning was taken up in private transfers, which by malicious people was thought to be done with design to conceal their effects.
I forbear mentioning the private confessions of particular ladies to their husbands; for as their chile dren were born in wedlock, and of consequence are legitimate, it would be an invidious task to record them as bastards; and particularly after their several husbands have so charitably forgiven them.
The evening and night through the whole town were spent in devotions both publick and private.; the churches for this one day were so crowded by the nobility and gentry, that thousands of common people were seen praying in the publick streets. In short, one would bave thought the whole town had