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spare his life; but if not, upon his next attempt to discover acts little of its will." To this story, true or false, Blood added them, they would kill him. Mr. Edwards, however, according a declaration that he was at the head of a numerous following, to his own account, was not intimidated by this threat, but disbanded soldiers and others who, from motives of religion, strained himself to make the greater noise, and in consequence, were determined to take the lite of the King, as the only obreceived several more blows on the head with the mallet, and stacle to their obtaining freedom of worship and liberty of was slabbed in the belly; this again brought the poor old man to conscience. These men, he said, would be determined, by his the ground, where he lay for some time in so senseless a state, execution, to persist in the resolution of putting Charles to that one of the villains pronounced him dead. Edwards had death; whereas, he averred that, by sparing his life, the King come a little to himself, and hearing this, lay quietly, conceiving might disarm a hundred pouiards directed against his own. This it best to be thought so. The booty was now to be disposed of, view of the case made a strong impression on Charles, whose and one of them, named Parrot, secreted the orb. Blood held selfishness was uncommonly acute : yet he felt the impropriety the crown under his cloak; and the third was about to file the of pardoning the attempt upon the life of the Duke of Ormond, eceptre in two, in order that it might be placed in a bag, and condescended to ask that faithful servant's permission, be brought for that purpose; but, fortunately, the son of Mr. Edwards, fore he would exert his authority, to spare the assassin or who had been in Flanders with Sir John Talbot, and on his mond answered, that if the King chose to pardon the attempt to landing in England, had obtained leave to come away post to steal his crown, he himself might easily consent that the visit his father, happened to arrive whilst this scene was acting; attempt upon his own life, as a crime of much less importance, and on coming to the door, the person that stood sentinel, should also be forgiven. Charles, accordingly, not only gave asked with whom he would speak; to which he answered, Blood a pardon, but endowed him with a pension of 500!. that he belonged to the house ; and, perceiving the person a-year; which led many persons to infer, not only that the King to be a stranger, told him that if he had any business with his wished to preserve himself from the future attempts of this father, that he would acquaint him with it, and so hastened up desperate man, but that he had it also in view to secure the serstairs to salute his friends. This unexpected accident spread vices of so determined a ruffian, in case he should have an opconfusion amongst the party, and they instantly decamped portunity of employing him in his own line of business. There with the crown and orb, leaving the sceptre yet untiled. The is a striking contrast between the fate of Blood, pensioned and agod keeper now raised himself upon his legs, forced the gag rewarded for this audacious attempt, and that of the faithful from his mouth, and cried, Treason' murder! which being Edwards, who may be safely said to have sacrificed his life in heard by his daughter, who was, perhaps, anxiously expecting defence of the property intrusted to him! In remuneration for far other sounds, ran out and reiterated the cry. The alarm now his fidelity and his sufferings, Edwards only obtained a grant of became general, and young Edwards and his brother-in-law,Cap. 2001. from the Exchcquer, with 1001. to his son ; but so little tain Beckman, ran after the conspirators, whom a warder put pains were taken about the regular discharge of these donatives, himself in a position to stop, but Blood discharged a pistol at ihat the parties entitled to them were glad to sell them for hall him,
and he fell, although unhurt, and the thieves proceeded the sum. Anter this wonderful escape from justice, Blood seems safely to the next post, where one Sill, who had been a soldier to have affected the airs of a person in favour, and was known under Cromwell, stood sentinel; but he offered no opposition, to solicit the suits of many of the old republican party, for and they accordingly passed the drawbridge. Horses were whom he is said to have gained considerable indulgences, when waiting for them at St. Catharine's gate ; and as they ran that the old cavaliers, who had ruined themselves in the cause of way along the Tower wharf, they themselves cried out, Stop Charles the First, could obtain neither countenance nor restituthe rogues! by which they passed on unsuspected, till Captain tion. During the ministry called the Cabal, he was high in fa. Beckman overtook them. At his head Blood fired another vour with the Duke of Buckingham; till upon their declension pistol, but missed him, and was seized. Under the cloak of this his favour began also to fail, and we find him again engaged in daring villain was found the crown, and, although he saw him. opposition to the Court. Blood was not likely to lie idle amid self a prisoner, he had yet the impudence io struggle for his the busy intrigues and factions which succeeded the celebrated prey; and when it was finally wrested from him, said, It was discovery of Oates. He appears to have passed again into a gallant attempt, however unsuccessful ; it was for a crown! violent opposition to the Court, but his steps were no longer so Parrot, who had formerly served under General Harrison, was sounding as to be heard above his contemporaries. North hints also taken; but Hunt, Blood's son-in-law, reached his horso at his being involved in a plot against his former friend and and rode off, as did two other of the thieves; but he was soon patron the Duke of Buckingham. The passage is quoted at afterwards stopped, and likewise committed to custody. In this length in a note in this volume, page 147. struggle and confusion, the great pearl, a large diamond, and se- The Plot, it appears, consisted in an attempt to throw some veral smaller stones, were lost from the crown ; but the two for scandalous imputation upon the Duk of Buckingham, for a mer, and some of the latter, were afterwards found and restored ; conspiracy to effect which Edward Christian, Arthur O'Brien and the Ballas ruby, broken off the sceptre, being found in Par- and Thomas Blood, were indicted in the King's Bench, and rot's pocket, nothing considerable was eventually missing. found guilty, 25th June, 1680. The damages sued for were laid
“As soon as the prisoners were secured, young Edwards has- as high as ten thousand pounds, for which Colonel Blood found tened to Sir Gilbert Talbot, who was then master and treasurer bail. But he appears to have been severely affected in health, as, of the Jewel-House, and gave him an account of the transac- 24th August, 1680, he departed this life in a species of lethargy. tion. Sir Gilbert instantly went to the King, and acquainted his It is remarkable enough that the story of his death and funeral majesty with it; and his majesty commanded him to proceed was generally regarded as fabricated, preparative to some exploit forth with to the Tower, to see how matters stood ; to take the of his own; nay, so general was this report, that the coroner examination of Blood and the others; and to return and report caused his body to be raised, and a jury to sit upon it, for the it to him. Sir Gilbert accordingly went; but the King in the purpose of ensuring that the celebrated Blood had at length meantime was persuaded by some about him, to hear the exam- undergone the common fate of mankind. There was found unination himself, and the prisoners were in consequence sent for expected difficulty in proving that the miserable corpse before to Whitehall; a circumstance which is supposed to bave saved the jury was that of the celebrated conspirator. It was at length these daring wretches from the gallows."
recognised by some of his acquaintances, who swore to the On his examination under such an atrocious charge, Blood preternatural size of the thumb, so that the coroner, convinced audaciously replied, "that he would never betray an associate, of the identity, remanded this once active, and now quiet peror defend himself at the expense of uttering a falsehood." He son, to his final rest in Tothill-fields. even verred, perhap more than was true against himsell, Such were the adventures of an individual, whose real es. when he confessed that he had lain concealed among the reeds ploits, whether the motive, the danger, or the character of the for the purpose of killing the King with a carabine, while enterprises be considered, equal, or rather surpass, those fictions Charles was bathing; but he pretended that on this occasion of violence and peril which we love to peruse in romance his purpose was disconcerted by a secret awe,-appearing to They cannot, therefore, be deemed foreign to a work dedicated, verify the allegation in Shakspeare, " There's such divinity like the present, to the preservation of extraordinary occur doth hedge a king, that treason can but peep to what it would, 1 rences, whether real or fictitious.
END OF PEVERIL OF THE PEAK.
La guerre est ma patrie,
INTRODUCTION TO QUENTIN DURWARD.
THB scene of this romance is laid in the fifteenth century, , and the weapons of raillery could be employed against it, withwhen the feudal system, which had been the sinews and nerves out exciting the disgust and horror with which they would have of national defence, and the spirit of chivalry, by which, as by been rejected at an early period, as a species of blasphemy. In a vivifying soul, that system was animated, began to be inno- the fourteenth century a tribe of scoffers had arisen, who prevated upon and abandoned by those grosser characters, who tended to supply what was naturally useful in chivalry by other centred their sum of happiness in procuring the personal ob-resources, and threw ridicule upon the extravagant and exclu. jects on which they had fixed their own exclusive attachment. sive principles of honour and virtue, which were openly treated The same egotism had indeed displayed itself even in more pri- as absurd, because, in fact, they were cast in a mould of permitive ages, but it was now for the first time openly avowed fection too lofty for the practice of fallible beings. If an ingenuas a professed principle of action. The spirit of chivalry had ous and high-spirited youth proposed to frame himself on his in it this point of excellence, that however overstrained and father's principles of honour, he was vulgarly derided as if ho fantastic many of its doctrines may appear to us, they were all had brought to the field the good old knight's Durindarte or twofounded on generosity and self-denial, of which if the earth handed sword, ridiculous from its antique make and fashion, were deprived, it would be difficult to conceive the existence although its blade might be the Ebro's temper, and its orna of virtue among the human race.
ments of pure gold. Among those who were the first to ridicule and abandon the In like manner, the principles of chivalry were cast aside, self-denying principles in which the young knight was instruct and their aid supplied by baser stimulants. Instead of the high ed, and to which he was so carefully trained up, Louis the XIth spirit which pressed every man forward in the defence of his of France was the chief. That Sovereign was of a character so country, Louis XI. substituted the exertions of the ever ready purely selfish--so guiltless of entertaining any purpose uncon mercenary soldier, and persuaded his subjects, among whom Dected with his ambition, covetousness, and desire of selfish the mercantile class began to make a figure, that it was better enjoyment, that he almost seems an incarnation of the devil to leave to mercenaries the risks and labours of war, and to himself, permitted to do his utmost to corrupt our ideas of ho- supply the Crown with the means of paying them, than to peril pour in its very source. Nor is it to be forgotten that Louis pos. themselves in defence of their own substance. The merchants sessed to a great extent that caustic wit which can turn into were easily persuaded by this reasoning. The hour did nor arridicule all that a man does for any other person's advantage rive, in the days of Louis XI., when the landed gentry and nobut his own, and was, therefore, peculiarly qualified to play the bles could be in like manner excluded from the ranks of war ; part of a cold-hearted and sneering fiend.
but the wily monarch commenced that system, which, acted In this point of view, Gorthe's conception of the character upon by his successors, at length threw the whole military deand reasoning of Mephistophiles, the tempting spirit in the sin fence of the state into the hands of the Crown. gular play of Faust, appears to me more happy than that which He was equally forward in altering the principles which were has been formed by Byron, and even than the Satan of Milton. wont to regulate the intercourse of the sexes.' The doctrines These last great authors have given to the Evil Principle some of chivalry had established in theory at least, a system in which thing which elevates and dignifies his wickedness ; a sustained Beauty was the governing and remunerating divinity--Valour and unconquerable resistance against Omnipotence itself-a her slave, who caught his courage from her eye, and gave his lofty scom of suffering compared with submission, and all those life for her slightest service. It is true, the system here, as in points of attraction in the Author of Evil, which have induced other branches, was stretched to fantastic extravagance, and Burns and others to consider him as the Hero of the Paradise cases of scandal not unfrequently arose. Still they were gene. Lost The great erman poet has, on the contrary, rendered rally such as those mentioned by Burke, where ilty was de his seducing spirit a being who, otherwise totally unimpas. prived of half its guilt, by being purified from all its grossness. sioned, seems only to have existed for the purpose of increasing, In Louis XIth's practice, it was far otherwise. He was a low by his persuasions and temptations, the mass of moral evil, and voluptuary, seeking pleasure without sentiment, and despising who calls forth by his seductions those slumbering passions the sex from whom he desired to obtain it ; his mistresses were which otherwise might have allowed the human being who of inferior rank, as little to be compared with the elevated was the object of the Evil Spirit's operations to pass the tenor though faulty character of Agnes Sorel, as Louis was to his of his life in tranquillity. For this purpose Mephistophiles is, heroic father, who freed France from the threatened yoke of like Louis XI., endowed with an acute and depreciating spirit England. In like manner, by selecting his favourites and minisof caustic wit, which is employed incessantly in undervaluing ters from among the dregs of the people, Louis showed the and vilifying all actions, the consequences of which do not lead slight regard which he paid to eminent station and high birth; certainly and directly to self-gratification.
and although this might be not only excusable but meritorious, Even an author of works of mere amusement may be permit where the monarch's fiat promoted obscuro talent, or called ted to be serious for a moment, in order to reprobate all policy, forth modest worth, it was very different when the King made whether of a public or private character, which rests its basis his favourite associates of such men as Tristan l'Hermite, the upon the principles of Machiavel, or the practice of Louis XI. Chief of his Marshalsea, or police; and it was evident that
The cruelties, the perjuries, the suspicions of this prince, were such a prince could no longer be, as his descendant Francis rendered more detestable, rather than amended, by the gross elegantly designed jumself," the first gentleinan in his domiand debasing superstition which he constantly practised. The nions." devotion to the heavenly saints, of which he made such a pa. Nor were Louis's sayings and actions in private or public, of rade, was upon the miserable principle of some petty deputy in a kind which could redeem such gross offences against the cha. office, who endeavours to hide or atone for the malversations racter of a man of honour His word, generally accounted the of which he is conscious, by liberal gifts to those whose duty most sacred test of a man's character, and the least impeachit is to observe his conduct, and endeavours to support a system ment of which is a capital offence by the code of honour, was of fraud, by an attempt to corrupt the incorruptible. In no forfeited without scruple on the slightest occasion, and often other light can we regard his creating the Virgin Mary a coun. accompanied by the perpetration of the most enormous crimes. tess and colonel of his guards, or the cunning that admitted to If he broke his own personal and plighted faith, he did not one or two peculiar forms of oath the force of a binding obliga- | treat that of the public with more ceremony. His sending an tion, which he denied to all others, strictly preserving the se. inferior person disguised as a herald to Edward IV., was in cret, which mode of swearing he really accounted obligatory, those days, when heralds were esteemed the sacred depositaone of the most valuable of state mysteries.
ries of public and national faith, a daring imposition, of which To a total want of scruple, or, it would appear, of any sense few save this unscrupulous prince would have been guilty.* whatever of moral obligation, Louis XI. added great natural In short, the manners, sentiments, and actions of Louis XI., firmness and sagacity of character, with a system of policy so were such as were inconsistent with the principles of chivalry, highly refined, considering the times he lived in, that he some and his caustic wit was sufficiently disposed to ridicule a sys. times overreached himself by giving way to its dictates. tein adopted on what he considered as the most absurd of all
Probably there is no portrait so dark as to be without its bases, since it was founded on the principle of devoting toil, softer shades. He understood the interests of France, and faith talents, and time, to the accomplishment of objects, from which fully pursued them so long as he could identify them with his no personal advantage could, in the nature of things, be obtained. own. He carried the country safe through the dangerous crisis It is more than probable that, in thus renouncing almost open of the war termed " for the public good;" in thus disuniting ly the ties of religion, honour, and morality, by which mankind and dispersing this grand and dangerous alliance of the great at large feel themselves influenced, Louis sought to obtain great crown vassals of France against the Sovereign, a King of a less advantages in his negotiations with parties who might esteem cautious and temporizing character, and of a more bold and less themselves bound, while he himself enjoyed liberty. He started crafty disposition than Louis XI., would, in all probability, have from the goal, he might suppose, like the racer who has got rid failed. Louis had also some personal accomplishments not in of the weights with which his competitors are still encumbered, consistent with his public character. He was cheerful and and expects to succeed of course. But Providence seems al. witty in society ; caressed his victim like the cat, which can ways to unite the existence of peculiar danger, with some cirfawn when about to deal the most bitter wound; and none was cumstance which may put those exposed to the peril upon better able to sustain and extol the superiority of the coarso their guard. The constant suspicion attached to any public and selfish reasons by which he endeavoured to supply those person who becomes badly eminent for breach of faith, is to nobler motives for exertion, which his predecessors had derived him what the rattle is to the poisonous serpent; and men come from the high spirit of chivalry.
at last to calculate, not so much on what their antagonist says, In fact, that system was now becoming ancient, and had, even as upon that which he is likely to do ; a degree of mistrust while in its perfection, something so overstrained and fantastic which tends to counteract the intrigues of such a faithless chain its principles, as rendered it peculiarly the object of ridicule, racter, more than his freedom from the scruples of conscienwhenever, like other old fashions, it began to fall out of repute, • See note, Disguised Herald, Chapter XXXIII. page 126