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"Another old friend of mine, Mr. Reynolds, spoke thus:
"You do not know the many services this man hath done for the Parliament these many years, or how many times, in our greatest distresses, we applying unto him, he hath refreshed our languishing expectations; he never failed us of comfort in our most unhappy distresses. I assure you his writings have kept up the spirits both of the soldiery, the honest people of this nation, and many of us parliament men; and now at last, for a slip of his pen (if it were his) to be thus violent against him: I must tell you, I fear the consequence urged out of the book will prove effectually true. It is my counsel, to admonish him hereafter to be more wary, and for the present to dismiss him.'
"Notwithstanding any thing that was spoken on my behalf, I was ordered to stand committed to the Serjeant at Arms. The messenger attached my person, said I was his prisoner. As he was carrying me away, he was called to bring me again. Oliver Cromwell, lieutenantgeneral of the army, having never seen me, caused me to be produced again, where he stedfastly beheld me for a good space, and then I went with the messenger; but instantly a young clerk of that committee asks the messenger what he did with me, where's the warrant ? until that is signed, you cannot seize Mr. Lilly, or shall. Will you have an action of false imprisonment against you? So I escaped that night, but next day obeyed the warrant. That night, Oliver Cromwell went to Mr. Reynolds, my friend, and said, What, never a man to take Lilly's cause in hand but yourself? None to take his part but you? He shall not be long there.'
That the fame of our English Merlin was not confined to his own country, appears by the evidence of Mr. Strickland in the preceding extract, and he subsequently received from the King of Sweden, a present of a gold chain and medal, in requital of the honourable mention he had made of his majesty in his Anglicus.
"In 1655, I was indicted at Hicks's-Hall by a half-witted young woman. Three several sessions she was neglected, and the jury cast forth her bill; but the fourth time, they found it against me: I put in bail to traverse the indictment. The cause of the indictment was, for that I had given judgement upon stolen goods, and received two shillings and sixpence. And this was said to be contrary unto an act in King James's time made.
"This mad woman was put upon this action against me by two ministers, who had framed for her a very ingenious speech, which she could speak without book, as she did the day of hearing the traverse. She produced one woman, who told the court, a son of her's was run from her; that being in much affliction of mind for her loss, she repaired unto me to know what was become of him; that I told her he was gone for the Barbadoes, and she would hear of him within thirteen days; which, she said, she did.
"A second woman made oath, that her husband being wanting two years, she repaired to me for advice: that I told her he was in Ireland,
and would be at home at such a time; and, said she, he did come accordingly.
"I owned the taking of half a crown for my judgement of the theft; but said, I gave no other judgement, but that the goods would not be recovered, being that was all which was required of me: the party, before that, having been with several astrologers, some affirming she should have her goods again, others gave contrary judgement, which made her come unto me for a final resolution.
"At last my enemy began her before-made speech, and, without the least stumbling, pronounced it before the court; which ended, she had some queries put unto her, and then I spoke for myself, and produced my own Introduction into court, saying, that I had some years before emitted that book for the benefit of this and other nations; that it was allowed by authority, and had found good acceptance in both universities; that the study of astrology was lawful, and not contradicted by any scripture; that I neither had or ever did use any charms, sorceries, or inchantments, related in the bill of indictment, &c.
"She then related, that she had been several times with me, and that afterwards she could not rest a-nights, but was troubled with bears, lions, and tygers, &c. My counsel was the Recorder Green, who after he had answered all objections, concluded, astrology was a lawful art.
"Mistress,' said he, what colour was those beasts that you were so terrified with?'
"I never saw any,' said she.
"""How do you then know they were lions, tygers, or bears?' replied he. This is an idle person, only fit for Bedlam.' The jury, who went not from the bar, brought in, No true bill."
His second wife dying, to his great joy, he the same year ventured on a third, who, he says, "is signified in my nativity by Jupiter in Libra; and she is so totally in her conditions, to my great comfort."
After the Restoration, being taken into custody and examined by a committee of the House of Commons, touching the execution of Charles I.; he declared that Robert Spavin, then secretary to Cromwell, dining with him soon after that event, assured him that it was done by Cornet Joyce. Having sued out his pardon under the broad seal of England, he continued to labour in his vocation, unmolested by the ruling powers, until the fire of London took place, when he was brought before a committee to depose what he knew respecting the cause of that calamity.
"Sir Robert Brooke spoke to this purpose:
"Mr. Lilly, This committee thought fit to summon you to appear before them this day, to know, if you can say any thing as to the cause of the late fire, or whether there might be any design therein. You are called the rather hither, because in a book of yours long since
printed, you hinted some such thing by one of your hieroglyphicks.' Unto which I replied,
"May it please your honours,
"After the beheading of the late King, considering that in the three subsequent years the Parliament acted nothing which concerned the settlement of the nation in peace; and seeing the generality of people dissatisfied, the citizens of London discontented, the soldiery prone to mutiny, I was desirous, according to the best knowledge God had given me, to make enquiry by the art I studied, what might from that time happen unto the Parliament and nation in general. At last, having satisfied myself as well as I could, and perfected my judgement therein, I thought it most convenient to signify my intentions and conceptions thereof, in forms, shapes, types, hieroglyphicks, &c. without any commentary, that so my judgement might be concealed from the vulgar, and made manifest only unto the wise. I herein imitating the examples of many wise philosophers who had done the like.'
"Sir Robert,' saith one, Lilly is yet sub vestibulo.'
"I proceeded further. Said I, having found, sir, that the city of London should be sadly afflicted with a great plague, and not long after with an exorbitant fire,* I framed these two hieroglyphics as represented in the book, which in effect have proved very true.'
66 6 Did you foresee the year?' said one.
"I did not,' said I, or was desirous of that I made no scrutiny. I proceeded
"Now, sir, whether there was any design of burning the city, or any employed to that purpose, I must deal ingenuously with you, that since the fire, I have taken much pains in the search thereof, but cannot or could not give myself any the least satisfaction therein. I conclude, that it was the only finger of God; but what instruments he used thereunto, I am ignorant.'
"The committee seemed well pleased with what I spoke, and dismissed me with great civility."
In his latter years, Lilly applied himself to the study of physic, and continued to practise that art, as well as astrology, at Hersham (where he had purchased an estate) till his death, which was occasioned by a paralytic attack, in 1681. He was
* Our astrologer well knew how to "lie like truth." His Monarchy or no Monarchy, has an appendix of sixteen pages of wood-cuts, "representing in Enigmatical Types, Formes, Figures, Shapes, the future condition of the English Nation and Commonwealth for many hundred of yeares to come; of which, had the curtesie of the times deserved it, the reader had seen an explanation." The graves and winding sheets are represented on the eighth page, and the burning city on the thirteenth; whereas, Lilly would have us believe, that the one was on the next side to the other, that they might tally with the Plague and the Fire, which occurred in 1665 and the following year.
interred in the chancel of the church at Walton, and his friend and dupe, the learned Elias Ashmole, placed over his remains "a fair black marble stone, which cost him six pounds, four shillings, and sixpence."
The number and extent of our extracts preclude our dwelling at any length on the merits or demerits of the departed Philomath. The simplicity and apparent candour of his narrative might induce a hasty reader of these Memoirs to believe him a well-meaning but somewhat silly personage, the dupe of his own speculations-the deceiver of himself as well as of others. But an attentive examination of the events of his life, even as recorded by himself, will not warrant so favourable an interpretation. His systematic and successful attention to his own interest-his dexterity in keeping on "the windy side of the law"-his perfect political pliability-and his presence of mind and fertility of resources when entangled in difficulties-indi- . cate an accomplished impostor, not a crazy enthusiast. It is very possible and probable, that, at the outset of his career, he was a real believer in the truth and lawfulness of his art, and that he afterwards felt no inclination to part with so pleasant and so profitable a delusion: like his patron, Cromwell, whose early fanaticism subsided into hypocrisy, he carefully retained his folly as a cloak for his knavery. Of his success in deception, the preceding narrative exhibits abundant proofs. The number of his dupes was not confined to the vulgar and illiterate, but included individuals of real worth and learning, of hostile parties and sects, who courted his acquaintance and respected his predictions. His proceedings were deemed of sufficient importance to be twice made the subject of a parliamentary inquiry; and even after the Restoration-when a little more scepticism, if not more wisdom, might have been expected-we find him examined by a Committee of the House of Commons, respecting his fore-knowledge of the great fire of London. We know not whether it "should more move our anger or our mirth," to see an assemblage of British Senators-the cotemporaries of Hampden and Falkland-of Milton and Clarendon-in an age which roused into action so many and such mighty energies-gravely engaged in ascertaining the causes of a great national calamity, from the prescience of a knavish fortune-teller, and puzzling their wisdoms to interpret the symbolical flames, which blazed in the mis-shapen wood-cuts of his oracular publications.
As a set-off against these honours may be mentioned, the virulent and unceasing attacks of almost all the party scribblers of the day; but their abuse he shared in common with men, whose talents and virtues have outlived the malice of their cotemporaries, and
"Whose honours with increase of ages grow,
As streams roll down, enlarging as they flow."
Butler, whose satire was "as broad and general as the casing air," could not overlook so conspicuous an object of ridicule, as Erra Pater Lilly; and, in his Hudibras, has cursed him with an immortality of derision and contempt. We cannot conclude this article better than with his witty account of the cunning man, hight SIDROPHEL,
"That deals in destiny's dark counsels,
They for discov'ry flock, or curing.
He had been long t'wards mathematics,