Born: Edward Alleyn, founder of Dulwich College, 1566, London; Margaret, Countess of Blessington, novelist, 1789, Knockbrit, near Clonmel.
Died: Pope Adrian IV, 1159; Dr. Henry More, theologian and philosopher, 1687, Cambridge; Louis XIV of France, 1715, Versailles; Eusebius Renaudot, oriental scholar, 1720, Paris; Sir Richard Steele, essayist and dramatist, 1729, Llangunnoruear Caermarthen; Dr. Maurice Greene, ecclesiastical composer, 1755; John Ireland, dean of Westminster, theological writer, 1842; William Yarrell, distinguished naturalist, 1856, Yarmouth.
Feast Day: Saints Felix, Donatus, Arontius, Honoratus, Fortunatus, Sabinianus, Septimius, Januarius, Felix, Vitalis, Satyrus, and Repositus, twelve brothers, martyrs at Benevento, in Italy. St. Firminus II, bishop and confessor, 4th century. St. Lupus or Lew, archbishop of Sens, confessor, about 623. St. Giles, abbot, about 700.
Giles or Ægidius, a very eminent saint of the seventh century, is believed to have been a Greek who migrated to France under the influence of a desire of greater retirement than he could enjoy in his own country. Settling in a hermitage, first in one of the deserts near the mouth of the Rhone, finally in a forest in the diocese of Nismes, he gave himself to solitude and heavenly contemplation with such entire devotion of spirit as raised him to the highest reputation. There is a romantic story of, his being partly indebted for his subsistence to a Heaven-directed hind, which came daily to give him its milk; and it is added that his retirement was discovered by the king of the country, who, starting this animal in the chase, followed it till it took refuge at the feet of the holy anchorite. In time, admitting disciples, St. Giles became, almost against his own will, the head of a little monastic establishment, which in time grew to be a regular Benedictine monastery, and was surrounded by a town taking its name from the saint.
Veneration for St. Giles caused many churches to be dedicated to him in various countries. In reference to a legend of his having once refused to be cured of lameness, the better to mortify in him all fleshly appetites, he became, as it were, the patron saint of cripples. It was customary that Giles's Church should be on the outskirts of a town, on one of the great thoroughfares leading into it, in order that cripples might the more conveniently come to and cluster around it. We have a memorial of this association of facts in the interesting old church of St. Giles, Cripplegate, in the eastern part of the city of London. So early as 1101, Matilda, the queen of Henry I, founded a hospital for lepers at another inlet of the metropolis, where now exists the modern church of St. Giles-in-the-Fields. From an early, but unascertained time, the parish church of Edinburgh was dedicated to this French saint.
After it had been undergoing gradual extension and improvement for ages, one William Preston of Gorton, travelling in France, succeeded, with great pains and expense, in obtaining a most holy relic-an arm-bone of St. Giles-and brought it home to Scotland, to be placed for perpetuity in St. Giles's Church. The municipality, in gratitude, allowed him to raise an aisle in the church, and granted that he and his successors should have the privilege of carrying the bone in all processions. It is curious to trace such past matters amidst a state of things now so different. So lately as 1556, the Dean of Guild of Edinburgh expended 12d. in 'mending and polishing Saint Geles arme.'
A great change was at that very time impending. When the time for the annual procession of St. Giles came about in 1558 (1st September), the populace were found to have stolen the wooden image of the saint, usually carried on those occasions, and to have ignominiously burned it. An attempt was made to effect the procession in the usual style with a borrowed image; but the proceedings were interrupted by a riot, and after that time we hear no more of any religious rites connected with St. Giles in Scotland. How difficult it is, however, altogether to eradicate anything religious that has ever once taken root in a country! There, to this day, on one side of the coat-armorial of the city of Edinburgh, you see figuring as a supporter, the hind which ancient legend represents as nurturing the holy anchorite in the forests of Languedoc twelve hundred years ago.
LAST MOMENTS OF A GREAT KING
Louis XIV had reigned over France for seventy-two years. He had been allowed to assume power beyond his predecessors; he had been idolised to a degree unknown to any other European sovereign. His wars, though latterly unfortunate, had greatly contributed to raise him in the eyes of his subjects. He had enlarged his dominions, and planted a grandson on the throne of Spain. As specially Le Grand Monarque amongst all contemporary sovereigns, he was viewed even by neighbouring nations as a being somewhat superior to common humanity. It becomes curious to see how such a demi-god could die.
Up to the 23rd of August 1715, Louis was able to attend council and transact business; for two days more, he could listen to music and converse with his courtiers. About seven in the evening of the 25th, the musicians came as usual to entertain him; but he felt himself too unwell to receive them, and his medical advisers were called instead. It was seen that his hour was approaching, and the last offices of religion were that night administered to him.
Next day, after mass, he called to his bedside the cardinals De Bohan and De Billi, in presence of Madame de Maintenon (his wife), the Father Tellier, the chancellor, and other officers, and said to them ' I die in the faith and submission of the church. I am not instructed in the matters which trouble her, but have followed your counsels, and uniformly done what you desired. If I have done amiss, you will be answerable before God, who is now my witness.' [What awfully wrong things were done!] The two cardinals made no other answer than by eulogiums on his conduct: he was destined to be flattered to the last moment of his life.
Immediately after, the king said: 'I again take God to witness that I have never borne hatred to the Cardinal de Noailles; I have always been distressed by what I have done against him; but it was what they told me I ought to do.' Thereupon, Blouin, Fagon, and Mareschal asked in elevated tones: 'Will they not allow the king to see his archbishop, to mark the reconciliation? The king, who understood them, declared that, far from having any objection, he desired it, and ordered the chancellor to make the archbishop come to him- 'If these gentlemen,' he said, looking to the two cardinals, 'do not find it inconvenient.' It was a critical moment for them.
To leave the conqueror of heresy to die in the arms of a heretic was a great scandal in their eyes. They withdrew into the recess of a window to deliberate with the confessor, the chancellor, and Madame de Main-tenon. Tellier and Billi judged the interview too dangerous, and induced Madame de Maintenon to think so likewise; Rohm and the chancellor, having the future in view, neither opposed nor approved; all, once more approaching the bed, renewed their praises of the delicacy of the royal conscience, and told him that such a step could not but subject the good cause to the triumph of its enemies-nevertheless, they were willing to see the archbishop come, if he would give the Icing his promise to accept the constitution. The timid prince submitted to their advice, and the chancellor wrote in consequence to the archbishop. Noailles felt keenly this last stroke of his enemies, answered with respect, but did not accept the conditions, and could not see the king. From that time he was nothing but an ingrate and a rebel, and they spoke of him no more, in order that the king might die in peace.
The same morning, the king had the infant dauphin (his great-grandchild, subsequently Louis XV) brought to him by the Duchess de Ventadour, and addressed him in these words: 'My child, you will soon be the sovereign of a great kingdom: what I most strongly recommend to you, is that you never forget your obligations to God; remember you owe Him all that you are. Endeavour to preserve peace with your neighbours. I have loved war too much. Do not imitate me in that, nor in my too great expenditure. Take counsel in all things; seek to know the best, that you may follow it. Relieve your people as much as you can, and do for them that which I have had the misfortune not to be able to do for them myself. Do not forget the great obligations you are under to Madame de Ventadour. For me, madam,' turning to her, 'I am sorry not to be in a condition more emphatically to mark my gratitude to you.' He ended by saying to the dauphin: 'My dear child, I give you my blessing with all my heart;' and he then embraced him twice with the greatest marks of tenderness.
The Duchess de Ventadour, seeing the king so moved, took away the dauphin. The king then received, in succession, the princes and princesses of the blood, and spoke to them all, but separately to the Duc d'Orleans and the legitimate children, whom he had made come first. He rewarded all his domestics for the services they had rendered him, and recommended them to spew the same attachment to the dauphin.
After dinner, the king addressed those about him. ' Gentlemen, I ask your pardon for the bad. example I have given you. I would wish to skew my sense of the manner in which you have always served me, my sense of your invariable attachment and fidelity. I am extremely vexed not to have been able to do for you all I wished to do. I ask you for my great-grandson the same attachment and fidelity you have shewn to me. I hope you will all stand unitedly round him, and that, if any one breaks away, you will aid in bringing him back. I feel that I am giving way too much, and making you give way too-pray, pardon me. Adieu, gentlemen; I reckon upon your occasionally remembering me.'
On Tuesday the 27th, when the king had no one beside him but Madame de Maintenon and the chancellor, he caused to be brought to him two caskets, from which he directed numerous papers to be taken out and burned, and gave orders to the chancellor regarding the remainder. Subsequently to this, he ordered his confessor to be called, and after speaking to him in a low voice, made the Count of Pouchartrain approach, and instructed him to carry out his commands relative to conveying his heart to the Jesuits' convent, and depositing it there opposite that of his father, Louis XIII.
With the same composure, Louis caused the plan of the castle of Vincennes to be taken from a casket, and sent to the grand marshal of the household, to enable him to make preparations for the residence of the court, and conducting thither the young king-such were the words used. He employed also occasionally the expression, In the time that I was king; and then, addressing himself to Madame de Maintenon, said: 'I have always heard that it is a difficult thing to die; I am now on the verge of this predicament, and I do not find the process of dissolution so painful a one.' Madame de Maintenon replied, that such a moment was terrible when we still cherished an attachment to the world and had restitutions to make. 'As an individual,' rejoined the king, 'I owe restitution to no one; and as regards what I owe the kingdom, I trust in the mercy of God. I have duly confessed myself; my confessor declares that I have a great reliance in God; I have it with all my heart.'
How indubitable a security was Father Tellier for the conscience of a king! The following day (Wednesday) Louis, as he was conversing with his confessor, beheld in the glass two of his servants who were weeping at the foot of his bed. 'Why do you weep,' said he, 'did you think I was immortal? My age should have prepared you for my death.' Then looking to Madame de Maintenon, 'What consoles me in quitting you, is the hope that we shall soon be reunited in eternity! She made no reply to this farewell, which did not appear at all agreeable to her. 'Bolduc, the first apothecary, assured me,' says Duclos, 'that Madame de Maintenon said, as she left the room: 'See the appointment which he makes with me! this man has never loved any one but himself.' Such an expression, the authenticity of which I would not guarantee, as the principal domestics bore her no good-will, is more suitable to the widow of Scarron than to a queen.' However this may be, Madame de Maintenon departed immediately for Saint-Cyr, with the intention of remaining there.
A Marseille empiric, named Lebrun, made his appearance with an elixir, which he announced as a remedy for the gangrene which was advancing so rapidly in the king's leg. The physicians, having abandoned all hope, allowed the king to take a few drops of this liquid, which seemed to revive him, but he speedily relapsed; a second dose was presented, his attendants telling him at the same time that it was to recall him to life. 'To life or to death,' said the king, taking the glass, 'whatever pleases God.' He then asked his confessor for a general absolution.
Since the king had taken to his bed, the court had gathered in a marked manner around the Duke of Orleans [the future regent]; but the king having apparently rallied on Thursday, this favourable symptom was so exaggerated, that the duke found himself alone.
The king having noticed the absence of Madame de Maintenon, exhibited some chagrin, and asked for her several times. She returned speedily, and said that she had gone to unite her prayers with those of her daughters, the virgins of Saint-Cyr. Throughout the following day, the 30th, she remained beside the king till the evening, and then seeing his faculties becoming confused, she went to' her own room, divided her furniture among her servants, and returned to Saint-Cyr, from which she no more emerged.
From this time, Louis had but slight intervals of consciousness, and thus was spent Saturday the 31st. About eleven o'clock at night, the cure, the Cardinal de Rohan, and the ecclesiastics of the palace came to repeat the prayers appointed for those in the agonies of death. The ceremony recalled the dying monarch to himself; he uttered the responses to the prayers with a loud voice, and still recognising the Cardinal de Rohan, said to him: 'These are the last benefits of the church.' Several times he repeated: 'My God, come to my aid; haste to succour me and thereupon fell into an agony, which terminated in death on Sunday the 1st September, at eight o'clock in the morning.
'Although,' remarks Voltaire, 'the life and death of Louis XIV. were glorious, he was not so deeply regretted as he deserved. The love of novelty, the approach of a minority in which each one anticipated to make his fortune, the constitution dispute which soured men's minds, all made the intelligence of his death be received with a feeling which went further than indifference. We have seen the same people, which, in 1686, had besought from Heaven with tears the recovery of its sick king, follow his funeral procession with very different demonstrations . . . . Notwithstanding his being blamed for littleness, for severities in his zeal against Jansenism, an overweening degree of arrogance in success towards foreigners, a weakness in female relationships, too much rigour in personal matters, wars lightly entered upon, the Palatinate given over to the flames, and the persecution of the adherents of the reformed doctrines, still his great qualities and actions, when placed in the balance, outweigh his defects. Time, which ripens the opinions of men, has set its seal on his reputation; and in despite of all that has been written against him, his name will never be pronounced without respect, and without conjuring up the idea of an epoch memorable through all ages. If we regard this prince in his private life, we see him, it is true, too full of his exalted position, but withal affable, refusing to his mother any share in the government, but fulfilling towards her all the duties of a son, and observing towards his wife all the externals of good-breeding; a good father, a good master, always decorous in public, hard-working in council, exact in business, just in thought, eloquent in speech, and amiable with dignity.'
The customary usages in England concerning the dates for commencing the shooting of game in each year, doubtless had their origin in the habits of the birds themselves: each kind of bird being, in reference to its qualities for the table, and still more for the degree of pleasure which it affords to the sportsman, best fitted for attention at certain seasons of the year. There are, nevertheless, other reasons why shooting is especially welcome as a sport in connection with the mode of apportioning time among the wealthy classes in this country. A writer in the Encyclopaedia Britannica (art. 'Shooting'), while alluding to the commencement of grouse-shooting in August, says: 'Many circumstances contribute to the popularity of grouse-shooting; among which may be enumerated the following. It commences during the parliamentary recess and long vacation-the legislator's, lawyer's, and collegian's holiday; and it is no wonder that, after being cooped up all the summer, these or any other classes of society should seek relaxation in the sports of the field.
August is the season when every one, from the peer to the shopkeeper, who can afford the indulgence, either rusticates or travels. In that month the casual tourist, the laker, and the angler, are often in the north, where the temptation to draw a trigger is irresistible.' It remains not the less true, however, that the precise days for beginning and ending each kind of game-shooting is determined by the legislature. The seasons fixed are-August 12 to December 10 for grouse; August 20 to December 10 for black-cock; September 1 to February 1 for partridge; September 1 to March 1 for bustard; October 1 to February 1 for pheasant. One further restriction is made in regard to black-cock shooting; that, in Somerset, Devon, and the New Forest, instead of commencing on August 20, the opening day must not be earlier than September 1. This last-named date is an important one, therefore, in connection with shooting; seeing that it concerns the fate of partridges, bustards, and (in some parts of the kingdom) black-cock. The game-laws, in determining these dates, were possibly made to bear some relation to the convenience of farmers, as well as to the habits of the game.
A landowner has certain rights in letting out the 'shooting' on his estate. A game-certificate empowers a sports-man to shoot game; a game-licence enables a dealer to buy game from the sportsman; none may shoot or buy but those who hold these documents, for which duties or fees are paid; and as farmers are often much troubled by the proceedings of these sportsmen, it is necessary that the legislature (if such statutes as game-laws are needed at all) should define the season before which and after which the field-ramblings for game shall not be allowed. The reader, by noticing the civil suits and the criminal trials reported in the public journals, will see how frequently there are collisions between sportsmen, gamekeepers, farmers, and poachers, arising in various ways out of these matters. Definite days certainly must be fixed, as the subject now stands; but there is evidently no natural necessity that the days should actually be those which have been selected. Colonel Hawker, a great authority on these matters, recommends that, except in relation to black-game, moor-game, and ptarmigan, shooting should not be allowed until the month of October. His reasons are as follow:
By such an arrangement, thousands of very young partridges, that are not fair game, would escape being shot by the gentlemen-poachers, or falling a prey, when in hedges and hassocks, to the dogs of the pot-hunter. There would he avoided many disputes between farmers and eager young sportsmen (perhaps the sons of their landlords), who sometimes cannot resist following their game into the corn. There would be an cud of destroying a whole nide of young pheasants in standing barley, which is so frequently and so easily done in September. The hot month of September was never meant for hard fagging. September is a month that the agriculturist should devote to his harvest, and the man of pleasure to sailing, sea-bathing, fishing, and other summer pursuits. But when October arrives, the farmer has leisure to enjoy a little sport after all his hard labour, without neglecting his business; and the gentleman, by a day's shooting at that time, becomes refreshed and invigorated, instead of wearing out himself and his dogs by slaving after partridges under the broiling sun of the pre-ceding month. The evenings begin to close; and he then enjoys his home and his fireside, after a day's shooting of sufficient duration to brace his nerves and make everything agreeable.
It appears, therefore, that though the 'First of September' is an important day in the laws of game, those laws do not necessarily partake of the inflexibility of the oft-quoted laws of the Medes and Persians.