23rd October

Born: Dr. John Jortin, eminent critic, 1698, London; Marshal Andoche Junot, French commander, 1771, Bussy les Forges; Francis Jeffrey, eminent critic, 1773, Edinburgh.

Died: Annius Manlius Severinus Boethius, Latin philosopher, beheaded by King Theodoric, 524; William Prynne, author of Histrio Mastix, or The Scourge of Players, 1669, London; Jean Francois Vaillant, eminent medalist, 1706; Anne Oldfield, celebrated actress, 1730, London.

Feast Day: St. Theodoret, priest and martyr, 362. St. Severin, archbishop of Cologne, confessor, 400. Another St. Severin or Surin, bishop. St. Romanus, archbishop of Rouen, confessor, 639. St. Ignatius, patriarch of Constantinople, confessor, 878. St. John Capistran, confessor, 1456.


Dorothy Sidney, Waller's Sacharissa, lives in the memory of men as a literary curiosity; as one of the brightest ornaments of virtue in the court of Charles I, she is consigned to oblivion.

Dorothy Sidney was born in 1620. She was the eldest of eight daughters, and the favourite of both parents. Her father was Robert Sidney, Earl of Leicester, and her mother, daughter of Henry Percy, ninth Earl of Northumberland.

To compile the lives of poets out of their works, is to build biography with treacherous materials, and little is known of Waller's relations to the lady of his verses, besides the meagre information which is to be found in them. It appears clear, however, that the poet proposed to her, and was somewhat disdainfully rejected. He was then a widower, popular at court, with a large estate and handsome person. The lady was gentle and virtuous, Waller wild and dissolute, and it might be supposed that his loose habits stood in his way. But other suitors of 'dearest Doll,' whose addresses were entertained, were by no means faultless. The truth is, the parents could countenance no one of less rank than a lord.

Waller was not inconsolable; he presently found a comforter, though we would conceive the transfer of his affections to have been a process of some difficulty:

All that of myself is mine,
Lovely Amoret, is thine:
Sacharissa's captive fain
Would untie his iron chain,
And, those scorching beams to shun,
To thy gentle shadow run.
If the soul had free election
To dispose of her affection,
I would not thus long have borne
Haughty Sacharissa's scorn:
But 'tis sure some power above
Which controls our wills in love.

Waller was soon afterwards married, as also was Sacharissa herself, on July 11, 1639, to Henry, third Lord Spencer, afterwards Earl of Sunderland. Waller's anathemas on this occasion, conveyed in a letter to Lady Lucy Sidney, another of the sisters, are worthy of quotation:

May my Lady Dorothy (if we may yet call her so) suffer as much, and have the like passion for this young lord, whom she has preferred to the rest of mankind, as others have had for her; and may this love, before the year go about, make her taste of the first curse imposed on womankind the pains of becoming a mother. May her first born be none of her own sex, nor so like her but that he may resemble her lord as much as herself. May she, that always affected silence and retiredness, have the house filled with the noise and number of her children, and hereafter of her grandchildren; and then may she arrive at that great curse, so much declined by fair ladies old age. May she live to be very old, and yet seem young; be told so by her glass, and have no aches to inform her of the truth; and when she shall appear to be mortal, may her lord not mourn for her, but go hand in hand with her to that place where we are told there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage; that, being there divorced, we may all have an equal interest in her again. My revenge being immortal, I wish all this may also befall their posterity to the world's end, and afterwards.

Lady Sunderland was not so fortunate as to have the poet's curses fulfilled. Her husband was killed at the battle of Newbury, in 1643, and his wife survived a second husband, whom she married in 1652. She died on the 25th February 1684, leaving one son and one daughter by her first, and one son by her second husband.


This fearful event, though its atrocities have been denied or extenuated by party zeal, is nevertheless but too well authenticated, and constitutes a most painful phase in the history of Ireland during the seventeenth century. There can be no doubt that the natives of that country had been harshly and unjustly treated by the English government; they had been insulted and ground down by all kinds of oppressive restrictions; their religion had been proscribed; and large portions of their territory, more especially in the province of Ulster, had been confiscated and transferred to English and Scottish colonists. Yet even all these provocations, combined with a due allowance for the barbarous condition of the time and country, will be wholly insufficient to excuse or palliate the horrible excesses which took place excesses reminding us of the worst features of the Bartholomew massacre in France.

The hopes of the Irish had been excited by the successful resistance made by the Scotch to the arbitrary measures of Charles I, and the prospect of reestablishing the supremacy of their religion, as well as of regaining the lands which had been bestowed on the English settlers, stirred them up to the desigimment of a wide spread conspiracy and revolt. The principal leaders were Roger Moore, a gentleman of Kildare, with Cornelius Maguire, Baron of Inniskillen, and Sir Phelim O'Neil, two chieftains of Ulster.

The plot was successfully matured without the English authorities having any idea of its existence beyond receiving some obscure hints of a conspiracy being in progress; and the 23rd of October 1641, was fixed on as a day of general insurrection, to be inaugurated by the surprise of the castle of Dublin. The previous night, one of the confederates getting drunk in a tavern, revealed the whole plot to an Irish Protestant, named Owen O'Connelly, who communicated the information to Sir William Parsons, one of the lords justices, and the capital was saved.

The rising, however, as preconcerted, burst forth in other parts of the country, and most frightful scenes of cruelty and bloodshed ensued. The Ulster colonists, dwelling in profound peace and the prosecution of a prosperous industry, were taken completely by surprise, and butchered promiscuously, without distinction of age or sex, by the savage and infuriated natives. In the words of Lord Clarendon,' they who escaped best were robbed of all they had, to their very shirts, and so turned naked to endure the sharpness of the season; and by that means, and for want of relief, many thousands of them perished by hunger and cold.' The rebellion spread with frightful rapidity, and in less than a fortnight many of the fairest tracts in Ireland, which the enterprise of the British colonists had reclaimed and adorned, were converted into waste and desolation, as if it had been the object of the devastators to obliterate every trace of English occupancy.

Energetic measures were at once taken by the Long Parliament, on hearing of this outbreak, to effect its suppression, but it nevertheless continued to rage for nearly two years. Great exaggeration was made as to the number of persons who actually perished, but after rejecting all extravagant estimates, it seems to be clearly ascertained, that from the beginning of the insurrection to its end, nearly fifty thousand individuals were murdered in cold blood; and this is exclusive of those who fell with arms in their hands on the field of battle, or endured every indignity and suffering short of death.


The battle of Edgehill, in which both the Royalist and Parliamentary party claimed the victory, took place on the morning of Sunday, October 23, 1642. Amongst those who fell on the king's side, and were left on the field as dead, was Sir Gervase Scroop, who had fallen covered with wounds about three o'clock on Sunday afternoon. It was not till Tuesday evening that his son, who was also in the king's forces, was able to return to the battlefield to search for the body of his father. When he found it, it was perfectly naked, having been stripped, like the rest of the slain, on Sunday evening, by camp plunderers. In this state it had lain all Sunday night, all Monday, and Monday night, and was apparently dead, having received no less than sixteen severe wounds. Monday night, it ought to be stated, had been remarkably cold and frosty. Sir Gervase's son carried him to a lodging near at hand, and fancied he felt in the body some degree of heat. 'That heat,' says Fuller, 'was, with rubbing, within few minutes, improved into motion; that motion, within some hours, into sense; that sense, within a day, into speech; that speech, within certain weeks, into a perfect recovery; living more than ten years after, a monument of God's mercy and his son's affection.

The effect of his story I received from his own mouth:

The next day (Wednesday, 26th October), another gentleman, named Bellingham, was found in a like condition among the dead, having received twenty wounds. Being carried off by his friends, he also was restored, and lived for ten days, but died subsequently from one of his wounds terminating in a gangrene. 'The surgeons were of opinion,' says Clarendon, 'that both these gentlemen owed their lives to the inhumanity of those who stripped them, and to the coldness of the nights, which stopped their blood, better than all their skill and medicaments could have done, and that if they had been brought off within any reasonable distance of time after their wounds, they had undoubtedly perished.

In connection with the subject of unexpected reanimation, the case of Sir Hugh Ackland, of Kellerton, Devonshire, may he mentioned as even more extraordinary. This gentleman was seized with a violent fever, and having apparently expired, had been laid out as dead. The nurse and two footmen were appointed to sit up through the night to watch the corpse. Lady Ackland, to cheer them, had sent them a bottle of brandy, whereupon one of the footmen, 'being an arch rogue,' said to the other:

Master dearly loved brandy when he was alive, and now, though he is dead, I am determined he shall have a glass with us!

Accordingly, he poured out a bumper, and forced it down Sir Hugh's throat. A gurgling noise immediately ensued, accompanied with a violent motion of the neck and upper part of the chest. A terrible consternation seized the watchers, who rushed violently down stairs; 'the brandy genius' with such speed, that he fell, and rolled head over heels, bumping down from step to step till he reached the bottom; while the nurse screamed with terror. The noise having roused a young gentleman who was sleeping in the house, he immediately got up, and went to the room where the noise had first begun. There, to his astonishment, he saw Sir Hugh sitting upright on the bed. He summoned the servants, and ordering them to place their master in a warm bed, sent off for his medical attendants.

In a few weeks, Sir Hugh was restored to perfect health, and lived many years afterwards. He often used to relate this strange story of his own resuscitation by his footman's facetious conceit, for which he is said to have bequeathed him a handsome annuity.