Billeder på siden

punishment of those violent claret-hunters, that, by abuse of this lawful and limited indulgence, do outrun all bounds, to the making å toil of a pleasure, and a tedious tiresome fox-chace of it; it may and shall be lawful for the sweet neglected Venus, like the old modest Diana, to punish all such capital offenders with the front of an Acteon; it being the opinion of this committee, that the wilful neglect of family duty, and all false measures of due benevolence, fall as justly under parliamentary censure and Jash as the false packing of butter.

And whereas the crying shame of the daily scandalous rhimes, the licentious scurrilous pamphlets, doggrel and play-house farces upon the holy state of matrimony, is no small grievance of the petitioners : this honourable committee, as fully impowered to search papers and records, have found the said libels to be wholly matter of malice and calumny, the generality of the authors being either some scribbling, aspiring, slighted pretenders to some fair disdainful Celia ; and therefore, in pure spight and revenge, pelted and persecuted with satire and lampoon, for no other sin but her being deaf and invincible to ditty and sonnet; and thereupon the whole honourable state of wedlock maliciously vilified, with the outcry of dry meat, for no other reason, but that themselves are thrown out of the chace, and excluded the game: or otherwise, if such wedlock railing be the venom and gall of any married author, wê conclude it the product of some very hard bargain, as possibly some old tapped leaky broach at home, and thereupon his palate wholly depraved and sowred with this nauseous draught of lees. Nevertheless, all the said villainous ribaldry and libels, as hatched and contrived for sowing sedition, and fomenting schism within the peaceable and united ecclesiastical provinces of hymen and love, we do hereby adjudge and sentence to the old doom of hæretico comburendo.

And whereas our fair petitioners enforce their suit, from our condescension to the humble debates of cutting the rivers Lug and Wye, &c. Be it therefore resolved and ordered accordingly, that the present Virgin Shallows, hitherto of no farther use than the driving a poor water-mill, &c. be dug into deeps and channels, and made navigable for traders and voyagers, and so rendered useful to the publick for the serviceable bearing of bulk and burthen.

Provided still, that all the fair bridal pretenders shall bring their whole loaf to the spousal board, and not have any of the kissing crust pared off by any hungry sharper for breakfast, before the good man in black has said grace for the nuptial night supper, with the rest of the usual ceremonies of " Fall to in God's name.

But if, by any frail mischance, an unbappy falling fair, under prétence of a pure untouched domestic utensil, shall bring a crazed pipkin into play, she shall be obliged, by a true and thorough reformation, and engagement of her future more steady uprightness, to give security that a cracked maidenhead, like a broken bone, shan be the strongest where it is sét again, or otherwise to forfeit all right and be trefit of our favour and protection.


Lastly, Be it ordered, in favour to the petitioners proposed supply towards recruiting the human dearth and scarcity made by the hungry devourer, War, that a clause be inserted to root out of all the female physick-gardens, and indeed from out the whole commonwealth, those dangerous plants called Cover-Shame, alias Savin, and other anti-conceptive weeds and poisons, those notorious restoratives of slender shapes, and tender reputations, to the loud and ing shame of love lost, and a good thing thrown away.'

As for what relates to the chaplains, we are willing to allow them plenty of meat, drink, and tobacco, the most zealous part of their supplication, nay, to sit down at table with their patrons, provided they do not take upon them to censure the management of the family. But, whereas they petition to be freed from any obligation to marry the chamber-maid, we can by no means assent to it; the Abigail, by immemorial custom, being a Deodand, and belonging to holy church.

We thank the poets for their good will to the government, as ap: pears by their proposal to raise a fund of six-hundred thousand pounds for the support of it; but do not think it convenient to raise any money either out of them, or the ribbon-weavers. tax we lay upon them, is to canonise all our heroes that die in Flanders, and to record their victories in verse. And this will be no burdensome employment for them.

And, lastly, as for the widows, provided they will engage never to talk bawdy, and quote the sayings, or praise the valour of their dead husbands, we will grant all and every clause in their petition, viz. The old widows shall have their gums rubbed with coral. The rich shall be indulged a twelve-months rest. The poor shall have the forfeitures they beg for; and the young receive full satisfaction in their three articles.

The only



The second Tacitus. MS.

TICHOLAS Machiavel is cried down a villain, though many

think he deserves a better title. Who intends to express a dishonest man, calls him a Machiavilian; they might as well say, he was a Straffordian, or a Marlborian; thus men embrace the first apparitions of virtue and vice, and let the substance pass by untouched.

He was not only an Italian, but a courtier. He was secretary to the state of Florence, of which he wrote an excellent and impartial history.

He lived in the days of Pope Alexander the Sixth, being familiar with his son Cæsar, and what those princes were, is sufficiently

known; no times were fuller of action, nor shewed the instability of worldly honours more, than the occurrences that happened in Italy in his time,

Now from a man wholly employed in court affairs, when it was thought a madness to look beyond second causes, worse things miglit have been with better reason expected, than these so bitterly condemned; which are indeed but the history of wise impieties, being before imprinted in the hearts of ambitious pretenders, and by him made legible to the meanest understandings; yet, he is more blamed for this fair expression, than they are that daily commit far greater iinpiety, than his or any pen else is capable to express.

Most of the estates of Italy did in his time voluntarily, or were compelled to change their masters; neither could that school teach him any thing more perfectly, than the way to greatness; nor he write a more acceptable treatise than Aphorisms of state.

He saw the kingdom of Naples torn out of the house of Anjou, by Ferdinand, and the people kept in tyranny both by the father and the son.

He saw the no less mad, than disloyal, ambition of Lodowick, Duke of Milan, who took the government upon him, out of the hands of young Galeas, with as much treachery and cunning as Francis Sforza, father to Galeas, had done from the Duke of Orleans,

He beheld Charles the Eighth, king of France, brought into Italy, by the said Duke of Milan, to keep the people at gaze, whilst he poisoned bis nephew, who was to expect the dukedom, when he

age. He saw the descent of Charles winked at by Pope Alexander the Sixth, in hopes to raise a house for his son Cæsar, out of the ruins of some of the princes, in which he was deceived; for the French king made himself master of all Italy, entered Rome twice, put the Holy Father, to take sanctuary, in the castle of St. Angelo, and to subscribe to such conditions, as the victorious king was pleased to prescribe him; upon which his holiness came out, and though Charles, in shew of reverence, did kiss his foot, yet he took his son Cæsar for hostage, to secure the performance of his promise, though he covered it with the name of Ambassy, ever to reside with the king, in token of amity.

And after Cæsar made bis escape, the holy father, contrary to his oath, made a league against the French king.

He was an eye-witness of an amity, contracted between the vicar of Christ and his known enemy, the Turk; with whom he agreed, for money, to poison his brother, who was fled into christendom, for fear of his brother Bajazet, then reigning, and was under the pope's protection at Rome; he saw the French king lose all Italy, within the small time he bad gained it.

He saw both Pope Alexander and his son overthrown, by one draught of poison, prepared by themselves for others; of which the father died presently, but the son, by reason of youth, and antidotes, had leisure to see what he had formerly gotten torn out of his

was of

hands, and he forced to fly to his father-in-law, the King of Navarre, in whose service he was murthered.

He was an observer of ambitious practices of princes; of the domestical impiety of the pope, who was corrival with his two sons, in the love of his own daughter, the Lady Lucretia, whom they all three enjoyed; which bred such a hatred between the brothers, that Cæsar, being jealous, that the other had a greater share in her affection, killed him one night, and threw him into the Tyber.

He observed that men in soft raiment might be found at court, but their consciences seared and hard.

He saw how princes never kept their promises so exactly, as not to fail, when they see a greater profit falling out, another time, by breaking them.

Is not falsehood and deceit their true dialect, nay cozenage, reduced into so necessary an art amongst them, so that he, that knows not how to deceive, knows not how to live? Let any one judge, that reads their stories.

Breach of faith in private men is accounted dishonourable and dampable, but kings claim a larger character, by reason of their universal commerce; and, as ambassadors ought to be excused, if. they lie abroad for the good of their country, because they represent their masters persons, with far greater reason, then, may they do it, that employ them.

Many governments are like natural bodies; outwardly they shew a comely structure, but search into the in: rails, from whence. the original and true nourishment proceed, and there will be found nothing but blood, filth, and stench.

His fortune is to be commiserated, that he in particular should bear the infamous marks, which belong to the vilest statesmen in general.

It was his profession, to imitate the behaviour of princes, were it never fo unseemly; nay, religion itself cannot condemn the speculation of ill, in ministers of state, without laying herself and professors open to all injury.

What are chronicles, but registers of blood, and projects to procure the spilling of it? The princes, there named, put in red letters, yet none blames them that write them.

Who could advise better than this Florentine, a member of the Roman church? And he is in that regard to be less blamed, for discovering the wicked practices of ambitious men, because he had as much converse with the pope, then in being, as any man, and with whom all impieties were as familiar as the air he breathed in.

If any can pretend a just quarrel with Machiavel, they are kings; for as it is the ordinary course of light women, to find fault with the broad discourse of that they maintain their power bý: so statesmen may best blame the publication of those maxims, that they put in practice, with more profit and security.

If the unjust steward was commended for his worldly wisdom, what doth he say more of Cæsar Borgia, than that he was a politick tyrant ? And if, without leave of the text, he proposes him, for an example, yet it is of ill; and who is more fit to be a pattern of, or to villainy, than one of the same coat:

If the lives of Lewis the Eleventh, or the Fourteenth, were examined, it will be found they acted more ill than Machiavel wrote, or, for ought is known, ever thought; yet the first has wisdom inscribed on bis tomb, and the last is cried up for a great statesman. And did not they always kiss their crucifix, after the doing of a dishonest thing, pronouncing a sentence or two, that discovered the complexion of their hearts, they might have passed for as honest men, as their wise ancestors, or any princes in their times, who now lie quiet in their graves; a favour this man is denied, by ignorant and ungrateful posterity.

He being to make a grammar for the understanding of tyrannical government, is he to be blamed, for setting down the gene al rules in it?

He instructs wise princes to dispatch their ungrateful actions by deputies, and those that are popular with their own hands.

Upon how great disadvantage should a good pripce treat with a bad, if he were not only familiar with the paths of wickedness, but knew other ways to shun them, and how to undermine the treacherous practices ?

He hath raked the truth too far, in many things, which makes him smell as he doth in the nostrils of ignorant people; whereas the better experienced know it is the wholsome savonr of the court, especially where the king is of the first head.

He would have men prepared to encounter the worst of men; and therefore he resembles him to a man driving a flock of sheep, into a corner, and did there take out their teeth, and instead, gave each of them a set of wolves teeth; so that, whereas one shepherd was able to drive a whole flock, now each sheep had need of a particular shepherd, and all little enough.

He was of an honourable family born at Florence, and the writer hereof, being about the year 1642, at Florence, made what inquiry he could after his reputation, and found that he left a good name behind him, as of a pious, charitable, sincere, good man, as any in that city. By James Boevey, Esq; at Cheam in Surrey,

Anno Salutis 1692,

Ætatis 71. * Cheam, in Surry. On the North Wall, on a fair Marble Monument, is this Inscription :

In Memory of

James Bovey, Esq;
who was buried near this place, January the 13, 1695,

And also of Margaretta, his Wife,

buried August the sd, 1714.
In the 76th Year of her age.

[ocr errors]

Vide Anb. Ant. Sortey, Vol. II. p. 116.

« ForrigeFortsæt »