Born: John Reinhold Forster, traveller and naturalist, 1729, Dirschau, West Prussia; Sir Philip Francis, reputed author of the Letters of Junius, 1740, Dublin; Dr. Alexander Murray, distinguished orientalist, 1775, Dunkitterick, Kirkcudbright.
Died: Charles Martel, vanquisher of the Saracens, 741, France; Athelstan, king of England, 940; Sir Cloudesley Shovel, British admiral, 1707; William Wollaston, author of The Religion of Nature Delineated, 1724, Great Finborough, Suffolk; John David Michaelis, biblical critic, 1791, Gottingen; Dr. Samuel Arnold, composer, 1802; Henry Richard, Lord Holland, Whig statesman and man of letters, 1840, Kensington; Sir William Molesworth, philosopher and statesman, 1855; Louis Spohr, celebrated composer, 1359, Cassel.
Feast Day: St. Mark, bishop of Jerusalem, confessor, 2nd century. St. Philip, bishop of Heraclea, and companions, martyrs, 304. St. Mello, or Melanins, bishop of Rouen, confessor, beginning of 4th century. Saints Nunilo and Alodia, virgins and martyrs, in Spain, 9th century. St. Donatus, bishop of Fiesoli, in Tuscany, confessor, 9th century.
SIR PHILIP FRANCIS
Though a man of distinguished ability, and playing a prominent part in connection with the history of British India, and the governor generalship of Warren Hastings, towards the close of the last century, it is very probable that the name of Sir Philip Francis might have ceased to be remembered at the present day, were it not for the interest attaching to him as the supposed author of the celebrated Letters of Junius.
The question of the individuality of this famous writer has been investigated with the most indefatigable and searching minuteness, and all the powers of literary and critical analysis brought to bear on its decision. To no less than thirty five persons, including the great Earl of Chatham, the elegant and courtly Lord Chesterfield, the orator and statesman Edmund Burke, the historian Edward Gibbon, the witty politician John Horne Tooke, the demagogue John Wilkes, Horace Walpole, Henry Grattan, and Lord Chancellor Loughborough, have these vigorous and stinging philippics been ascribed. Never was a literary secret more carefully and successfully kept, or more sedulous efforts employed to trace and ferret it out. But about forty years after the appearance of these letters, the publication by the son of Mr. Woodfall, the printer, of the private letters addressed by Junius to his father, afforded a clue to the identity of the writer, which was most ingeniously followed out by Mr. Taylor, and the results given to the world in his Junius Identified. The result arrived at was the fixing of the authorship on Sir Philip Francis, then an old man upwards of seventy, whose participation in the matter had scarcely as yet been even suspected. With the position thus laid down by Mr. Taylor, though speciously enough controverted by several parties, public opinion has been led generally to coincide, and it may now be almost regarded as established. To the grounds by which this belief is supported we shall shortly advert, but may, in the first place, give a brief sketch of the life of Francis.
He was a native of Dublin, and born there in 1740. His father, Dr. Francis, is well known among classical scholars as the translator of Horace, and his grandfather was dean of Lismore. The family removed to England when Philip was a mere boy, and he received his education at St. Paul's School, London, where he had as one of his companions Henry Woodfall, who was afterwards to become so famous as the printer and publisher of the Letters of Junius.
Young Francis was early noted as a remarkably clever lad, and at the age of sixteen obtained a place in the office of the secretary of state, then held by his father's friend, Mr. Fox, afterwards Lord Holland. He continued in this place under Fox's successor, Lord Chatham, but quitted it in 1758, to act as secretary to General Bligh, and was present in that capacity at the capture of Cherbourg. Subsequently to this, he became secretary to the Earl of Kinnoul, and in 1763 received an important appointment in the War Office, which he retained for nine years. The character which he had acquired for diplomatic abilities occasioned his being appointed, along with General Clavering and Colonel Monson, a member of the Supreme Council of Bengal, which was designed to cooperate with, but in reality to act as a check on, the governor general in the management of affairs.
As might have been expected, it proved anything but a harmonious relationship; and Francis, after a six years' residence in India, and a duel with the governor general, the celebrated Warren Hastings, which nearly proved fatal to the councillor, resigned his office, and returned to England. Not long afterwards he succeeded in getting himself returned to parliament as member for Yarmouth in the Isle of Wight, and from that period till 1807, when he retired from public life, he acted as one of the most active members of the Opposition.
Under the Grenville ministry, he was made a knight of the Bath, and it was even said, at one time, that he was going to be sent out to India again as governor general. He died in St. James's Square, London, in 1818.
We have now to consider the evidence as to the identity of Sir Philip with the author of the Letters of Junius. There is, first, a remarkable coincidence between the known handwriting of the former and the disguised characters made use of by the latter. Both are the productions of persons having a great command of the pen; but however successfully a person may disguise his writing, it is impossible for him to guard wholly against betraying himself through those minutiae of penmanship which every one has his own peculiar mode of executing. Thus we find that both Sir Philip Francis and Junius, instead of a round dot over the i, make use of an oblique stroke; they mark their quotations not by inverted commas, but by short perpendicular lines; and instead of marking the division of a word at the end of a line by a hyphen, do it by a colon. In the spelling of numerous words, the formation of certain capitals, and the general style of the manuscript, there is a great similarity. It has also been found on comparing an envelope addressed by Sir Philip Francis in a feigned hand with the writing of Junius, that they were absolutely identical.
The time at which the Letters of Junius appeared coincides very closely with the theory of Francis being the writer. The publication of the first letter in the Public Advertiser took place on 21st January 1769, and of the last on 21st January 1772. Letters by the same author, under different names, and also private communications to Wood fall the printer, occur both prior and subsequent to these dates, but none before 1767 or after January 1773. Now we know that from 1763 to 1772, Sir Philip Francis was in the War Office, and in June 1773, sailed for India as a member of the Supreme Council. The intimate acquaintance of Junius with public matters, inferring often a knowledge of what was transacting behind the scenes of the administrative stage, is thus accounted for, in addition to the coincidence of date. In regard to the style and sentiments of Junius, agreat similarity is traceable between them and those of Sir Philip Francis, the same vigour and terseness being conspicuous in each, with the mine recklessness of assertion and pungency of sarcasm. Many other circumstances might be mentioned in support of the view we have indicated, but we shall only adduce, in addition, the facts that the authorship of Junius was never formally denied by Sir Philip Francis; that it was firmly believed by his widow, Lady Francis, to whom, on their marriage, he presented an edition of the Letters, with a request never to speak of the book nor let it be seen, but to take it with her to her room. In his drawer, after his death, a parcel containing a book was found sealed up, and directed to his wife. It was Junius Identified.
The question may perhaps be asked why did Sir Philip Francis, supposing him to have been the author of Junius, seek to conceal the fact after all danger of prosecution or party violence had passed away? A sufficient answer may be found in the words of Shellac 'It is my humour;' a reason which Sir Walter Scott very candidly assigns for his long and sedulous endeavours to conceal the authorship of the Waverley Novels. But from a communication of Lady Francis to Lord Campbell, published in the Lives of the Lord Chancellors, it would appear that he considered himself in honour bound to secrecy, from his having given a promise to that effect to an eminent person deceased. What share the individual in question had in the matter is not ascertained, but probably some of the letters had been submitted to him before publication by Sir Philip Francis, who had possibly also received in this way some important information. It has since been learned that this mysterious coadjutor of Junius was the Earl of Chatham.
REVOCATION OF THE EDICT OF NANTES
The Edict of Nantes is very seldom spoken or written about in modern times; whereas its Revocation has become stamped as one of the notable historical events of the seventeenth century. The reason for this distinction will soon he apparent. Towards the close of the sixteenth century, France was troubled both by a war with Spain and by the struggles between the Catholics and Huguenots. Henry IV had the whole force of the Catholic League against him so long as he was a Protestant or Huguenot; but when, in 1593, he became a convert to Romanism, he had to bear the animosity of Protestants instead of Catholics. This was so perplexing to him, that, after having signed a treaty of peace with Spain in 1598, he promulgated the Edict of Nantes. This was a tolerant measure, not tending to disturb the national religion of France, but giving to the Protestants a guarantee that they would not be disturbed in the free exercise of their religion. It gave them, indeed, more than this; for it assured to them a share in the administration of justice, and the privilege of being admitted to various employments of trust, profit, and honour.
After remaining in operation eighty seven years, this edict was suddenly revoked by Louis XIV in 1685. It was a gloomy time for the Protestants, seeing that James II had become king of England; while in France Louis had allowed bigoted advisers to drive him into a cruel course of proceeding towards his Protestant subjects. 'All the pledges given to them and by the edict were at once revoked, and desolation followed. All the iniquities inseparable from persecution,' says Hume, 'were exercised against those unhappy religionists; who became obstinate in proportion to the oppressions which they suffered, and either covered under a feigned conversion a more violent abhorrence of the Catholic communion, or sought among foreign nations for that liberty of which they were bereaved in their native country. Above half a million of the most useful and industrious subjects deserted France; and exported, together with immense sums of money, those arts and manufactures which had chiefly tended to enrich that kingdom. They propagated everywhere the most tragical accounts of the tyranny exercised against them, and revived among the Protestants all that resentment against the bloody and persecuting spirit of popery, to which so many incidents in all ages had given too much foundation. Near fifty thousand refugees passed over into England.'
It is sickening to go through the story of the Dragonnades, the forcible conversion of Protestants to Catholicism by means of Louis's dragoons, at Nismes and other French towns. Without dwelling upon those recitals, it may be more to the purpose to say that France injured herself in an incalculable degree by these proceedings: seeing that she drove away from her borders much of that wealth, skill, and industry which was essential to her wellbeing. A numerous body of refugees, as we have said, came to England. Many of them settled in Spitalfields as silk weavers; and their superior taste, skill, and ingenuity were displayed in the richness and variety of the silks, brocades, satins, and lute strings which the looms of England afterwards produced. To this day, Spitalfields contains a urger proportion of families, whose names denote a French origin, than is customary in other parts of the metropolis. The art of paper making, too, was greatly improved in England by this occurrence; for whereas most of our fine papers had until then been imported, now the skilled paper makers themselves were settled in England.
It is singular, indeed, that the king's advisers should not have foreseen the result of these violent measures. First, the Protestants were excluded from all civil employments. Next, they were forbidden to hold any share in the principal silk manufactures. But when an ordinance banished all the pastors, the government were perplexed at finding that the people voluntarily shared in the banishment. It was ordered that all who attempted to leave the kingdom should be sentenced to the galleys; but this did not prevent half a million persons from fleeing to England, Holland, and Germany. The loss of so much capital, skill, and industry to France, was certainly not intended or expected by the ill advised court.
SOME STUART STATUES
On the 22nd of October 1635, Viscount Wimbledon, military governor of Portsmouth, wrote the following epistle to the mayor of that town:
MR. MAYOR Whereas, at my last being at Portsmouth, I did commend it to you most earnestly in regard of his majesty's figure, or statue, that it hath pleased his majesty to honour your town with more than any other; so that these signs of your inns do not only obscure his majesty's figure but out face, as you yourselves may well perceive. Therefore, I desire you that you will see that such an inconveniency be not suffered; but that you will cause, against the next spring, that it be redressed, for that any disgrace offered his majesty's figure is as much as to himself. To which end I will and command all the officers and soldiers not to pass by it without putting off their hats. I hope I shall need to use no other authority to make you do it; for that it concerneth your obedience to have it done, especially now you are told of it by myself.
The more celebrated statue of the First Charles, now standing at Charing Cross, was treated with much less respect immediately afterwards. Cast by Le Scour about 1638, it had not been erected when the civil war commenced, and so the parliament sold it for old metal to one John Rivet, a brazier, residing in Holborn, with strict injunctions that it should be broken into pieces. But the brazier, in defiance of those injunctions, preserved the statue intact, exhibiting some fractured bits of brass to the parliamentarians as its mutilated remains, and immediately commenced to drive a brisk trade in brass handled knives and forks, which he sold as being partly made of the broken statue. These were eagerly purchased by both parties by the Royalists, as sacred relics of their murdered monarch; by the Roundheads, as triumphal emblems of a vanquished tyranny. After the Restoration, the disgraced statue was exhumed from its concealment in Rivet's backyard, and in 1674, was erected on a pedestal designed by Grinling Gibbons, on its present site. Waller,' by four kings beloved,' wrote the following lines on the occasion:
That the First Charles does here in triumph ride; See his son reign, where he a martyr died; And people pay that reverence, as they pass (Which then he wanted!), to the sacred brass; Is not the effect of gratitude alone, To which we owe the statue and the stone. But heaven this lasting monument has wrought, That mortals may eternally be taught, Rebellion, though successful, is but vain; And kings, so killed, rise conquerors again. This truth the royal image does proclaim, Loud as the trumpet of surviving fame.
Though universally considered to be the finest of our London statues, this specimen of Le Sceur's artistic powers has not escaped adverse criticism. Connoisseurs sometimes differ in opinion, as well as persons of less aesthetic tastes. Walpole proclaims that'the commanding grace of the figure, and the exquisite form of the horse, are striking to the most unpractised eye.' While, on the other hand, Ralph asserts that 'the man is ill designed and as tamely executed; there is nothing of expression in the face, nor character in the figure; and though it may be vulgarly admired' (shade of Strawberry Hill! the courtly Horace vulgar!) 'it ought to be generally condemned.'
The next royal statue in chronological order, erected in London, possessed less artistic pretensions. The great civil war, though it ruined thousands, was nevertheless the cause of many large fortunes being acquired. Robert Viner, merchant and goldsmith of London, was one of the lucky individuals thus enriched. In a single transaction, recorded by Pepys, he cleared ten thousand pounds by a timely loan to Charles II.
Exuberant of loyalty, and rejoicing in the full blown honour of knighthood, Sir Robert determined to erect a statue to the careless monarch, whose lavish propensities and consequent necessities proved so profitable to the money lending goldsmith. But, knowing little of art or artists, his principal object was to procure a statue as soon and cheaply as he could, and this he accomplished through one of his mercantile correspondents at Leghorn. The statue was of white marble, and having been executed in honour of John Sobieski, king of Poland, in commemoration of his great victory over the Turks, represented that hero on horseback, the animal trampling upon a prostrate Mussulman.
A little alteration not by any means an improvement was made on the faces of the figures. Sobieski was converted into an exceedingly bad likeness of Charles, and the prostrate Mussulman transformed into Oliver Cromwell; but the artist leaving the Turkish turban on the head of the latter figure, most ludicrously revealed the original import of the work. The statue was erected on a conduit in Stocks Market in 1675; and Sir Robert Viner, keeping his mayoral feast on the same day, the king dined with him at Guildhall. On this occasion, the lord mayor, in the pride of his heart and warmth of feeling, did such justice to the various loyal toasts, that he actually began to treat the king more as a familiar friend than a most honoured guest. Charles, with his usual tact, perceiving this conduct, and not altogether unaccustomed to difficulties of the kind, after giving a hint to the nearest courtiers, attempted to steal away to his carriage, then in readiness at the gate. But Viner, seeing the intended retreat, rushed after the monarch, and seizing his hand, exclaimed with an oath: 'Sir! sir! you shall stay and take t'other bottle!' Charles, looking over his shoulder, with a smile and graceful air, repeated the line of an old song:
He that is drunk is as great as a king,
and at once returned to the company and 't'other bottle.'
About 1735, the citizens of London, determining to erect a residence for their chief magistrate, two sites, Stocks Market and Leadenhall Market, were proposed for the purpose. Both sites had their advocates, and considerable contention prevailed on the subject, as recorded in the following epigram of the period:
At Guildhall great debates arose
'Twixt common-council, friends and foes,
About a lord mayor's mansion house.
Some were for having it erected
At Stocks Market, as first projected;
But others, nor their number small,
Voted for market Leadenhall:
One of the places, all agreed,
Should for their purpose he decreed.
Whence springs this strife we're in the dark yet,
Whether to keep or make a market;
And on the affair all can be said,
They differ but as stocks or lead.
One or two circumstances concerning the erection of the mansion house may be noticed here. While the discussion was in progress, some one proposed the commanding site formed by the block at the Newgate street end of Cheapside, but without avail, Stocks Market being ultimately selected. The Earl of Burlington sent a design of Palladio to the lord mayor; but the common council, discovering, after some inquiry, that Palladio was not a freeman of the city, but a foreigner and papist, rejected his magnificent model with contempt. A citizen was selected for architect of the mansion house, and as he had begun life as a shipbuilder, lie seems not to have forgotten his original profession, the front of the building resembling very much one of the old East India Company's ships, what sailors used irreverently to term 'teawagons,' with her clumsy stern and quarter galleries. The stairs and passages in the interior of the dark edifice were little more than ladders and gangways; and a superstructure on the roof, long since taken down, was an exact resemblance of Noah's ark, as represented by a child's toy. This last appendage to the building was popularly termed 'the Mare's Nest.'
Stocks Market being selected for the mansions house, the statue that had served to represent four different persons was taken down in 1736. The following rhymes on the occasion allege that the figure on the horse had represented Cromwell also; but this is an anachronism, the Protector being dead before Sobieski won his great battle.
THE LAST DYING SPEECH AND CONFESSION OF THE HORSE AT STOCKS MARKET
Ye whimsical people of London's fair town,
Who one day put up what the next you pull down;
Full sixty one years have I stood in this place,
And never till now met with any disgrace.
What affront to crowned heads could you offer more bare,
Than to pull down a king to make room for a mayor.
The great Sobieski, on horse with long tail,
I first represented when set up for sale;
A Turk, as you see, was placed under my feet,
To prove o'er the sultan my triumph complete.
Next, when against monarchy all were combined,
I for your Protector, Old Noll, was designed.
When the king was restored, you, then, in a trice,
Said the old whiskered Turk had Oliver's face,
Though, you know, to be conquered he ne'er felt the disgrace.
Three such persons as these on one horse to ride
A hero, usurper, and king all astride:
Such honours were mine; though now forced to retire,
Perhaps my next change may be something still higher,
From a fruit woman's market, I may leap to a spire.
As the market is moved, I'm obliged to retreat,
I could stay there no longer when I'd nothing to eat:
Now the herbs and the greens are all carried away,
I must trot unto those who will find me in hay.
For many years after the demolition of Stocks Market, the wretched statue was destitute of a fitting restingplace. Long it lay neglected in a builder's shed, till an enterprising innkeeper set it up in his yard. At last, in 1779, the corporation presented it to Robert Viner, a descendant of the loyal lord mayor, who at once took it away to decorate his country seat.
SHAKESPEARE RELICS AT STRATFORD ON AVON
As one among several steps towards perpetuating the national interest in the great dramatist, the ground of his house at Stratford was purchased by public subscription on the 22nd of October 1861, or rather, some of the ground which had belonged to him was purchased. The truth is, there is a difficulty in identifying some of the property; and there have been two separate purchases made in the name of the public. It is believed that the house in which Shakspeare was born still exists. His father, John Shakspeare, bought two freehold houses in Henley Street, Stratford, in 1574; and it is now the cherished theory that William was born in one of these houses ten years earlier, while his father merely rented it. The property remained with John till his death, and then it descended to William; who, in his turn, bequeathed it to his sister, Mrs. Hart. It is supposed that she lived in one of the houses till her death in 1646, and that the other was converted into the `Maidenhead Inn;' this latter became the 'Swan,' and afterwards the `Swan and Maidenhead.' After many years, that which had been Mrs. Hart's portion of the house was divided into two tenements, one of which was a butcher's shop. The butcher who occupied this shop about the year 1807, put up the inscription:
'WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE WAS BORN IN THIS HOUSE. N.B. A HORSE AND TAXED CART TO LET.'
In more recent times the inscription was
THE IMMORTAL SHAKSPEARE WAS BORN IN THIS HOUSE.
It ceased to be a butcher's shop, and was rented by an old woman, who made money by shewing the house to visitors. The bedroom, said to be that in which the great dramatist was born, was scribbled all over the walls and ceiling with the names of visitors, some illustrious, but the great portion obscure. The last descendant of the Harts, quitting the house under process of ejectment, took her revenge by whitewashing over all these names; and her successor had much trouble in removing the whitewash. In the condition of a show place, that which was called Shakspeare's house, comprised about one fourth of the original building, and consisted of a little shop, a kitchen behind, and two small rooms upstairs. A few years ago, the Royal Shaksperian Club of Stratford on Avon purchased some of this property; and another portion of the house was purchased afterwards, to be preserved in the name of the nation. There is no actual proof that William Shakspeare was born in this house; but Stratford has believed it ever since Shakspeare became famous. Washington Irving, delighted with the house and the few so called relics exhibited in his day, said: 'What is it to us whether these stories be true or false, so long as we can persuade ourselves into the belief of them, and enjoy all the charm of the reality?' And Mr. Charles Knight has said: 'Disturb not the belief that William Shakspeare first saw the light in this venerated room!' Certain it is, that the club would not have purchased the house at so large a sum as they gave for it, had they not clung to the belief that the illustrious man was really born there. The property purchased in 1861, was land rather than houses.
At the corner of Chapel Street, Stratford, was an old substantial house called New Place, which belonged to William Underhill in 1597, and was by him sold to William Shakspeare. The property was described as one messuage, two barns, two gardens, two orchards, and appurtenances.' In 1643, while occupied by Mrs. Nash, Shakspeare's granddaughter, Queen Henrietta Maria stayed three weeks in the house. It was then owned in succession by Edward Nash, Sir Reginald Foote, Sir John Clopton, and the Rev. Francis Gastrell. This last named owner was a most unsuitable possessor of such a place: for, in 1756, to save himself the trouble of shewing it to visitors, he cut down the celebrated mulberry tree in the garden which Shakspeare had planted with his own hands; and, in 1759, he pulled down the house itself which he did not inhabit in order that he might not have to pay poor rates for it! The gardens and the site of the house being afterwards sold, they fell into various hands, and portions of the ground were built upon In 1861, a house which stood on the site of New Place, together with about an acre of what had been Shakspeare's garden and orchard, were advertised for sale by auction, being' eligible for building.' Mr. Halliwell, lamenting the probability of such a spot being so appropriated, inaugurated a subscription for purchasing it, and also another portion of the garden belonging to other persons. This was effected after some difficulty; and the property was vested in the mayor and corporation of the town, on the conditions that no building is to be erected on the ground, and that it shall be gratuitously open to the public.