« PreviousContinue »
The Pope has lately held two other consistories, wherein he made a promotion of two Cardinals; but the acknowledgment of King Charles is still deferred.
Letters from other parts of Italy advise us, that the Doge of Venice continues dangerously ill; that the Prince de Carignan, having relapsed into a violent fever, died the twenty-third of April in his eightieth year.
Advices from Vienna of the twenty-seventh of April import, that the Archbishop of Saltzberg is dead, who is succeeded by Count Harrach, formerly Bishop of Vienna, and for these last three years coadjutor to the said Archbishop; and that Prince Maximilian of Linchtenstein is likewise departed this life at his country seat called Cromaw, in Moravia. These advices add, that the Emperor has named Count Zinzendorf, Count Goes, and Monsieur Consbruck, for his plenipotentiaries in an ensuing treaty of peace; and they hear from Hungary, that the Imperialists have had several successful skirmishes with the malcontents.
Letters from Paris, dated May the sixth, say, that the Marshal de Thesse arrived there on the twentyninth of the last month, and that the Chevalier de Beuil was sent thither by Don Pedro Ronquillo with advice, that the confederate squadron appeared before Alicant on the seventeenth, and, having for some time cannonaded the city, endeavoured to land some troops for the relief of the castle; but General Stanhope, finding the passes well guarded, and the enterprise dangerous, demanded to capitulate for the castle; which being granted him, the garrison, consisting of 600 regular troops, marched out with their arms and baggage the day following; and being received on board, they immediately set sail for Barcelona. These letters add, that the march of the French and Swiss regiments is further deferred for a few days; and that the Duke of Noailles was just ready to set out for Roussillon, as well as the Count de Bezons for Catalonia.
The same advices say, bread was sold at Paris for sixpence a pound; and that there was not half enough, even at that rate, to supply the necessities of the people, which reduced them to the utmost despair; that 300 men had take
up arms, and, having plundered the market of the suburb of St. Germain, pressed down by their multitude the king's guards who opposed them. Two of those mutineers were afterwards seized and condemned to death: but four others went to the magistrate who pronounced that sentence, and told him, he must expect to answer with his own life for those of their comrades. All order and sense of government being thus lost among the enraged people ; to keep up a show of authority, the captain of the guards, who saw all their insolence, pretended, that he had represented to the king their deplorable condition, and had obtained their pardon. It is further reported, that the Dauphin and Dutchess of Burgundy, as they went to the opera were surrounded by crowds of people, who upbraided them with their neglect of the general calamity, in going to diversions, when the whole people were ready to perish for want of bread. Edicts are daily published to suppress these riots; and papers, with menaces against the government, as publicly thrown about. Among others, these words were dropped in a court of justice: “France wants a Ravilliac, or a Jesuit, to deliver her." Besides this universal distress, there contagious sickness, which, it is feared, will end in a pestilence. Letters from Bourdeaux bring accounts no less lamentable: the peasants are driven by hunger from their abodes into that city, and make lamentations in the streets without redress.
We are advised by letters from the Hague, dated
the tenth instant, N. S. that on the sixth, the Marquis de Torcy arrived there from Paris; but the passport, by which he came, having been sent blank by Monsieur Rouille, he was there two days before his quality was known. That minister offered to communicate to Monsieur Heinsius the proposals which he had to make; but the Pensionary refused to see them, and said, he would signify it to the States, who deputed some of their own body to acquaint him, that they would enter into no negociation until the arrival of his grace the Duke of Marlborough, and the other ministers of the alliance. Prince Eugene was expected there the twelfth instant from Brussels. It is said, that besides Monsieur de Torcy, and Monsieur Pajot, director-general of the posts, there are two or three persons at the Hague whose names are not known; but it is supposed, that the Duke d’Alba, ambassador from the Duke of Anjou, was one of them. The States have sent letters to all the cities of the provinces, desiring them to send their deputies to receive the propositions of peace made by the court of France.
** In the absence of Mrs. Bickerstaff, Mr. Distaff has received Mr. Nathaniel Broomstick's letter.
N° 11. THURSDAY, MAY 5. 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines
nostri est farrago libelli.
Juv. Sat, i. 85, 86.
Will's Coffee-house, May 3. A KINSMAN has sent me 'a letter, wherein he informs me, he had lately resolved to write an heroic
poem, but by business has been interrupted, and has only made one similitude, which he should be afflicted to have lost; and begs of me to apply it to something, being very desirous to see it well placed in the world. I am so willing to help the distressed, that I have taken it in: but, though his greater genius might very well distinguish his verses from mine, I have marked where his begin. His lines are a description of the sun in eclipse, which I know nothing more like than a brave man in sorrow, who bears it as he should, without imploring the pity of his friends, or being dejected with the contempt of his enemies: as in the case of Cato,
When all the globe to Cæsar's fortune bow'd,
And proves the more illustrious by defect.” This is a very lively image ; but I must take the liberty to say, my kinsman drives the sun a little like Phæton: he has all the warmth of Phæbus, but will not stay for his direction of it. Avail and toil, defect and tract, will never do for rhymes. But, however, he has the true spirit in him; for which
* The verses are by Mr. Jabez Hu ghes.
reason I was willing to entertain any thing he pleased to send to me. The subject which he writes upon naturally raises great reflections in the soul, and puts us in mind of the mixed condition which we mortals are to support; which as it varies to good or bad, adorns or defaces our actions to the beholders : all which glory and shame must end in what we so much repine at, death.
But doctrines on this occasion, any other than that of living well, are the most insignificant and most empty of all the labours of
None but a tragedian can die by rule, and wait till he discovers a plot, or says a fine thing upon his exit. In real life, this is a chimera; and by noble spirits it will be done decently, without the ostentation of it. We see men of all conditions and characters go through it with equal resolution: and if we consider the speeches of the mighty philosophers, heroes, lawgivers, and great captains, they can produce no more in a discerning spirit, than rules to make a man a fop on his death-bed. Commend me to that natural greatness of soul, expressed by an innocent, and consequently resolute country-fellow, who said in the pains of the cholick, "If I once get this breath out of
, you me before you put it in again.” Honest Ned! and so he died. *
But it is to be supposed, that from this place you may expect an account of such a thing as a new play is not to be omitted. That acted this night is the newest that ever was writ. The author is my ingenious friend Mr. Thomas Durfey. This Drama is called, “ The Modern Prophets,” and is a most unanswerable satire against the late spirit of enthusiasm. The writer had by long experience observed that, in company, very grave discourses had been followed by bawdry; and therefore has turned the
* This Ned was a farmer of Anthony Henley, Esq. who mentions this saying of his in a letter to Swift.