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grees. Nay, the Pope is said to have privately admitted the Prince of Orange's envoy to his confidence, while he treated Castlemaine with so much contempt. The cause of this coldness was the Pope's quarrel with James's ally, Louis, and his dislike to the order of Jesuits, by: whom the king of England was entirely ruled. In truth, Innocent XI. was much more anxious to maintain the privileges of the Roman see against those princes who retained her communion, than to add England to a flock which was become so mutinous and untractable. He was, besides, a man of no extended views, and chiefly concerned himself with managing the papal revenue, involved in debt by a succession of wasteful pontificates. To this the conversion of England promised no immediate addition, and, with the narrowness of view natural to his pursuits, Innocent XI. thought it better to employ his exertions in realizing an immediate income, than in endeavouring to extend the faith and authority of the church, by embarking in a design of great doubt and hazard. He was, therefore, but a very poor representative of Pope Sylvester. As for the last two lines, they contain, what we seldom meet with in Dryden's poetry, a compliment not only bombastic, but unappropriate, and even unmeaning.
May find no room for a remaining doubt.-P. 293. In these lines, and the following, where the poet, with indecent freedom, compares the suspicions entertained of a spurious birth to the devil's doubts concerning our Saviour's godhead, he alludes to those circumstances of publicity, which one would have supposed might have rendered the birth of the prince indisputable. It took place at ten o'clock in the morning; and eighteen privy counsellors, besides a number of ladies, were present at the delivery. But the party violence of the period was so extravagant, as to receive and circulale a variety of reports, inconsistent with each other, and agreeing only in the general conclusion, that the child was an imposition upon the nation. The reasoning of the Bishop of Salisbury, on this point, is admirasly summed up by Smol. let.
“ On the 10th of June, 1688, the queen was suddenly seized with labour-pains, and delivered of a son, who was baptized by the name of James, and declared Prince of Wales. All the Catholics and friends of James were transported with the most extravagant joy at the birth of this child; while great part of the nation consoled themselves with the notion, that it was altogether supposititious. They carefully collected a variety of circumstances, upon which this conjecture was founded; and though they were inconVOL. X.
sistent, contradictory, and inconclusive, the inference was so agree. able to the views and passions of the people, that it made an impression which, in all probability, will never be totally effaced. Dr Burnet, who seems to have been at uncommon pains to establish this belief, and to have consulted all the Whig liurses in England upon the subject, first pretends to demonstrate, that the queen was not with child; secondly, that she was with child, but miscarried; thirdly, that a child was brought into the queen's apartment in a warming-pan; fourthly, that there was no child at all in the room ; fifthly, that the queen actually bore a child, but it died that same day; sixthly, that it had the fits, of which it died at Richmond ; therefore, the Chevalier de St George must be the fruit of four different impostures.”
Note VI. Five months to discord and debate were given.-P. 295. During the five months preceding the bigth of the Chevalier de St George, James was wholly engaged by those feuds and dissensions which tended to render irreparable the breach between him and his subjects. The arbitrary attacks upon the privileges of Magdalen College, and of the Charler-House, fell nearly within this period. Above all, the petition of the seven bishops against reading the Declaration of Indulgence, their imprisonment, their memorable trial and acquittal, had all taken place since the month of April ; and it is well known to what a state of violent opposition the nation had been urged by a train of arbiţrary acts of violence, so imprudently commenced, and perversely insisted in. Dryden, like other men of sense, probably began to foresee the consequences of so violent and general irritation; and expresses himself in moderate and soothing language, both as to the past and future. Nothing is therefore dropt which can offend the church of England. Perhaps they may have been spared by the royal command; for it seems, as is hinted by a letter from Halifax to the Prince of Orange, that, not finding his expectations answered by the dissenters, whom he had so greatly favoured of late, James entertained thoughts of returning to his old friends, the High-churchmen ; “ but the truth is,” his lordship adds,“ the Papists have of late been so hard and fierce upon them, that the very species of those formerly mistaking men is destroyed; they have so broken that loom in pieces, that they cannot now set it up again to work upon it."---DALRYMPLE's Nemoire. Appendix to Book V.
When the sudden blast,
Disease, despair, and death, at three reprises told.---P. 297. There was, Dryden informs us, a report of the prince's death, to which he alludes. James, in a letter to the Prince of Orange, dated June 12, mentions the birth of his son on the Sunday preceding, and adds, “ the child was somewhat ill this last night, of the wind, and some gripes, but is now, blessed be God, very well, and like to have no returns of it, and is a strong boy.” About this illness, Burnet tells the following gossipping story : “ That night, one Hemings, a very worthy man, an apothecary by his trade, who lived in St Martin's Lane, the very next door to a family of an eminent Papist, (Brown, brother to the Viscount Montacute, lived there ;) the wall between his parlour and their's being so thin, that he could easily hear any thing that was said with
a louder voice, he (Hemings) was reading in his parlour late at night, when he heard one come into the neighbouring parlour, and
say, with a doleful voice, the Prince of Wales is dead : Upon which a great many that lived in the house came down stairs very quick. Upon this confusion he could not hear any thing more; but it was plain they were in a great consternation. He went with the news next morning to the bishops in the Tower. The Countess of Clarendon came thither soon after, and told them, she had been at the young prince's door, but was denied access : she was amazed at it; and asked, if they knew her: they said, they did; but that the queen had ordered, that no person whatsoever should be suffered to come in to him. This gave credit to Hemings' story; and looked as if all was ordered to be kept shut up close, till another child was found. One, that saw the child two days after, said to me, that he looked strong, and not like a child so newly born." The poem
of Dryden plainly proves, that such a report was so far from being confined among the Catholics, that it was spread over all the town; and what the worthy Mr Hemings over-heard in his next neighbour's, the Papist's, might probably have been heard in any company in London that evening, although the mode of communication would doubtless have been doleful or joyous, according to the party and religion of the news-bearer.