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have a share of it. Davy Ramsey finds out one John Scott,* who pretended the use of the Mosaical rods, to assist him herein: I was desired to join with him, unto which I consented. One winter's night, Davy Ramsey,† with several gentlemen, myself, and Scott, entered the west side of the cloysters, the rods turned one over another, an argument that the treasure was there: the labourers digged at least six foot deep, and then we met with a coffin; but in regard it was not heavy, we did not open, which we afterwards much repented. From the cloysters we went into the abbey church, where, upon a sudden, (there being no wind when we began) so fierce, so high, so blustering and loud a wind did rise, that we verily believed the west-end of the church would have fallen upon us; our rods would not move at all; the candles and torches, all but one, were extinguished, or burned very dimly: John Scott, my partner, was amazed, looked pale, knew not what to think or do, until I gave directions and command to dismiss the dæmons; which when done, all was quiet again, and each man returned unto his lodging late, about twelve o'clock at night; I could never since be induced to join with any in such-like actions.
"The true miscarriage of the business was, by reason of so many people being present at the operation; for there was above thirty, some laughing, others deriding us; so that if we had not dismissed the dæmons, I believe most part of the abbey church had been blown down; secrecy and intelligent operators, with a strong confidence and knowledge of what they are doing, are best for this work."
Having buried his first wife, our Astrologian speedily provided himself with a second, who brought him five hundred pounds portion, but, with the help of her poor relations, managed to spend him twice that sum. She was, he says, "of the nature of Mars," and was possessed by a termagant spirit, which poor Lilly, with all his skill, could never lay. In consequence, perhaps, of his matrimonial infelicity, our sage became lean and melancholy, and retired, for the benefit of his health, to Hersham, where he resided from 1636 to 1641, when, getting tired of the country, and, from the growing confusion of the times, perceiving there was money to be got in London," he returned thither, and began to labour in his vocation with laudable assiduity not contented with delivering his oracles in private, he commenced author, and his lucubrations,
a hundred hawkers' load,
On wings of winds came flying all abroad.”
This Scott lived in Pudding-Lane, and had some time been a page (or such like) to the Lord Norris.
Davy Ramsey brought an half quartern sack to put the trea
"In 1644, I published Merlinus Anglicus Junior, about April. I had given one day the copy thereof unto the then Mr. Whitlocke, who by accident was reading thereof in the House of Commons: ere the Speaker took the chair, one looked upon it, and so did many, and got copies thereof; which when I heard, I applied myself to John Booker to license it, for then he was licenser of all mathematical books; I had, to my knowledge, never seen him before; he wondered at the book, made many impertinent obliterations, framed many objections, swore it was not possible to distinguish betwixt king and parliament; at last licensed it according to his own fancy; 1 delivered it unto the printer, who, being an arch Presbyterian, had five of the ministry to inspect it, who could make nothing of it, but said it might be printed, for in that I meddled not with their Dagon. The first impression was sold in less than a week; when I presented some to the members of parliament, I complained of John Booker, the licenser, who had defaced my book; they gave me order forthwith to reprint it as I would, and let them know if any durst resist me in the reprinting or adding what I thought fit; so the second time it came forth as I would have it.
Before that time, I was more Cavalier than Roundhead, and so taken notice of; but after that I engaged body and soul in the cause of parliament, but still with much affection to his majesty's person and unto monarchy, which I ever loved and approved beyond any government whatsoever; and you will find in this story many passages of civility which I did, and endeavoured to do, with the hazard of my life, for his majesty: but God had ordered all his affairs and counsels to have no successes; as in the sequel will appear."
* For some passages in his Starry Messenger, which were construed into a reflection on the Commissioners of Excise, Lilly was arrested by the Serjeant-at-Arms, and brought before
* In the Ashmolean Museum are preserved two original letters to Lilly the one from an amorous swain who had consulted the sage in a matrimonial scheme, and had received a favourable judgement, which subsequent events had falsified, and who writes for farther information, expressing much regret and wonderment that "this businesse should go so crossely," but without any suspicion that the stars, or their interpreter, had played him false. The other letter is from Vincent Wing,
an under conjurer,
Or journeyman astrologer,"
soliciting the judgement of Lilly, "concerning a great number of fine linnings" which had been stolen from one of his clients (the lady of a M.P.) who would not be satisfied with the opinion of a second-rate wizard, in a case of such magnitude and intricacy. The letter, which is well seasoned with adulation, concludes, with requesting a puff for one of Wing's forthcoming publications.
a committee of the House of Commons; but, having several good friends among the members, he not only escaped with impunity, but turned the laugh against Miles Corbet, who had instituted the proceedings against him from some personal pique.
“There being, in those times, some smart difference between the army and the parliament, the head-quarters of the army were at Windsor, whither I was carried with a coach and four horses, and John Booker with me. We were welcomed thither, and feasted in a garden where General Fairfax lodged. We were brought to the general, who bid us kindly welcome to Windsor; and, in effect, said thus much: "That God had blessed the army with many signal victories, and yet their work was not finished. He hoped God would go along with them until his work was done. They sought not themselves, but the welfare and tranquillity of the good people, and whole nation; and, for that end, were resolved to sacrifice both their lives and their own fortunes. As for the art we studied, he hoped it was lawful and agreeable to God's word; he understood it not; but doubted not but we both feared God; and therefore had a good opinion of us both.' Unto his speech I presently made this reply:
My lord, I am glad to see you here at this time.
"Certainly, both the people of God, and all others of this nation, are very sensible of God's mercy, love, and favour unto them, în directing the parliament to nominate and elect you general of their armies, a person so religious, so valiant.
"The several unexpected victories obtained under your excellency's conduct, will eternize the same unto all posterity.
"We are confident of God's going along with you and your army, until the great work for which he ordained you both, is fully perfected; which we hope will be the conquering and subversion of your's and the parliament's enemies, and then a quiet settlement and firm peace over all the nation, unto God's glory, and full satisfaction of tender consciences.
"Sir, as for ourselves, we trust in God; and, as Christians, believe in him. We do not study any art but what is lawful, and consonant to the scriptures, fathers, and antiquity; which we humbly desire you to believe,' &c.
"This ended, we departed, and went to visit Mr. Peters, the minister, who lodged in the castle, whom we found reading an idle pamphlet, come from London that morning. Lilly, thou art herein,' says he. 'Are not you there also?' I replied. he.-The words concerning me, were these:
Yes, that I am,' quoth
"From th' oracles of the sibyls so silly,
Good Lord, deliver me.
"After much conference with Hugh Peters, and some private discourse betwixt us two, not to be divulged, we parted, and so came back to London."
When Colchester was besieged, Booker and Lilly were sent for by the parliamentarians to encourage the soldiers, by "assuring them the town would very shortly be surrendered, as indeed it was." When Cromwell was in Scotland, "the day of one of their fights, a soldier stood with Anglicus in his hand; and, as the several troops passed by him, Lo, hear what Lilly saith; you are, in this month, promised victory, fight it out, brave boys'-and then read that month's prediction."
The royalists were not behind hand with their opponents, in paying homage to the genius of Lilly; and, in affairs of the greatest moment, availed themselves of the prescience of the "profound gymnosophist," who was by no means niggardly of his advice to any party that could afford to pay for it. When the King was meditating an escape from the soldiery at Hampton Court, a Mrs. Whorwood was despatched, with his concurrence, to Lilly, to learn in what quarter he might remain concealed, till he thought it prudent to declare himself. Lilly, having erected a figure, said, the King might be safely concealed in some part of Essex, about twenty miles from London: the lady happened to have a house, in that quarter, fit for his majesty's reception, and went away the next morning to acquaint him with it. But the King was gone away, in the night, westward, and surrendered himself, at length, to Hammond, in the Isle of Wight; and thus the project was rendered abortive. He was again applied to by the same lady, in 1648, for the same purpose, while the King was at Carisbrook Castle; whence, having laid a design to escape by sawing the iron bars of his chamber-window, Mrs. Whorwood came to our astrologer, and acquainted him with it. Lilly procured a proper saw, and furnished her with aqua fortis besides; by which means his majesty had nearly succeeded, but his heart failing, he proceeded no farther.
"Whilst the King was at Windsor Castle, one day walking upon the leads there, he looked upon Captain Wharton's almanack; 'My book,' saith he, speaks well as to the weather'; one William Allen standing by; 'what,' saith he,' saith his antagonist, Mr. Lilly?' I do not care for Lilly,' said his majesty, he hath been always against me,' and became a little bitter in his expressions. Sir,' said Allen, the man is an honest man, and writes but what his art informs him.' 'I believe it,' said his majesty, and that Lilly understands astrology as well as any man in Europe.""
While the parliament party retained its authority undiminished, Lilly continued to prophecy stoutly in its behalf; but, finding its influence on the wane, he ventured to predict, in his Anglicus," that the Parliament stood on a tottering foundation, and that the commonality and soldiery would join together against them."
"My Anglicus was for a whole week every day in the parliamenthouse, peeped into by the Presbyterians, one disliking this sentence, another finds another fault, others misliked the whole; so in the end a motion was made, that Anglicus should be inspected by the Committee for plundered ministers; which being done, they were to return them to the house, viz. report its errors.
"A messenger attached me by a warrant from that Committee; I had private notice ere the messenger came, and hasted unto Mr. Speaker Lenthall, ever my friend. He was exceeding glad to see me, told me what was done, called for Anglicus, marked the passages which tormented the Presbyterians so highly. I presently sent for Mr. Warren the printer, an assured Cavalier, obliterated what was most offensive, put in other more significant words, and desired only to have six amended against next morning, which very honestly he brought me. I told him my design was to deny the book found fault with, to own only the six books. I told him, I doubted he would be examined. 'Hang them,' said he,' they are all rogues. I'll swear myself to the devil ere they shall have an advantage against you by my oath.'
"The day after, I appeared before the Committee, being thirty-six in number that day; whereas it was observed, at other times, it was very difficult to get five of them together. At first they showed me the true Anglicus, and asked if I wrote and printed it. took the book and inspected it very heedfully; and when I had done so, said thus:
"This is none of my book; some malicious Presbyterian hath wrote it, who are my mortal enemies; I disown it.' The Committee looked upon one another like distracted men, not imagining what I presently did; for I presently pulled out of my pocket six books, and said, 'These I own, the others are counterfeits, published purposely to ruin me.' The Committee were now more vexed than before; not one word was spoke a good while: at last, many of them, or the greatest number of them, were of opinion to imprison me. Some were for Newgate, others for the Gate-House; but when one Brown, of Sussex, called the Presbyterian beadle, whom the company of stationers had bribed to be my friend, by giving him a new Book of Martyrs ; he, I say, preached unto the Committee this doctrine, that neither Newgate or the Gate-house were prisons unto which at any time the Parliament sent prisoners: it was most convenient for the Serjeant at Arms to take me in custody.
"Mr. Strickland, who had for many years been the Parliament's ambassador or agent in Holland, when he saw how they inclined, spoke thus:
"I came purposely into the Committee this day to see the man who is so famous in those parts where I have so long continued: I assure you his name is famous all over Europe; I come to do him justice. A book is produced by us, and said to be his; he denies it; we have not proved it, yet will commit him. Truly this is great injustice. It is likely he will write next year, and acquaint the whole world with our injustice; and so well he may. It is my opinion, first to prove the book to be his, ere he be committed.'