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MARVELL, SIDNEY, AND BOYLE.
especially under Charles II., and a description of all great public events, in which the writer had any interest. The “ Diary” was not published till 1818. Evelyn's snug house and beautiful gardens at Deptford were shamefully abused by his imperial tenant, the Czar Peter, who used often to amuse himself by riding on a wheelbarrow through a great holly hedge. Evelyn died in 1706.
ANDREW MARVELL, Milton's friend, wrote both poetry and prose. He was born in Lincolnshire in 1620–21. Upon finishing his education at Cambridge, he travelled, and afterwards acted as secretary to the embassy at Constantinople. In 1657 he became assistant to Milton, the Latin Secretary. As member for Hull, he is said to have refused a bribe of £1000 offered by Charles II. His treatise on Popery and Arbitrary Government in England was, perhaps, the greatest effort of his pen. His poems are marked with elegance and pathos. In 1678 he died, it was rumoured, by poison.
ALGERNON SIDNEY, son of the Earl of Leicester, was born about 1621. He was a colonel of cavalry in the Parliamentary army during the Civil War; but was no friend to Cromwell, whose assumption of power he condemned. After the Restoration he remained on the Continent for seventeen years; and then, having received a pardon from the King, he returned to see his aged father. Placing himself in opposition to the court, he was beheaded in 1683, on a charge of conspiracy against the government. A folio of 462 pages, entitled Discourses on Government, is the only important work of Sidney that we possess. It was written in opposition to the doctrine of divine right. The establishment of a republic in England was Sidney's life-long dream.
ROBERT BOYLE, son of the Earl of Cork, was born at Lismore in 1627. Distinguished for his researches in Chemistry and Natural Philosophy, he was one of the original members of the Royal Society. Air and the air-pump were his favourite subjects. His numerous works consist of philosophical treatises, and several works on religious topics. His Occasional Reflections on Several Subjects, published in 1665, gave origin to Swift's well-known caricature, Meditation on a Broom-stick, Boyle died in 1691.
TEMPLE, RAY, TILLOTSON, AND BARROW,
SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE, noted as the negotiator of the Triple Alliance, and as that English envoy at the Hague who arranged the marriage between William of Orange and the Princess Mary of England, was born in London in 1628. His scheme of a Council of Thirty, to bring the perplexed government of Charles II. into order, proved a failure. During the intervals of public life Temple wrote many clear and musical Essays on various subjects, among which we may note those on the Netherlands, Government, and Learning. Gardening, too, his favourite recreation, employed
His last days were spent at Moor Park in Surrey, where young Jonathan Swift was for a time his secretary. He died in 1699.
JOHN RAY, a blacksmith's son, born in 1628, at Black Notley in Essex, was a very celebrated naturalist. His General History of Plants, and his popular work on the Wisdom of God in the Works of Creation are his chief productions. Birds, fishes, insects, and quadrupeds, all attracted the attention of Ray; but botany was his favourite study. He died in 1705.
JOHN TILLOTSON, who became Archbishop of Canterbury after the Revolution, was originally the son of a Puritan clothier at Sowerby near Halifax, where he was born in 1630. His associations at Cambridge, and certain books he read, gradually led to a change of views; and he entered the Church of England after 1662. He first became celebrated as a preacher at St. Lawrence's in the Jewry. Having held the primacy for only three years, he. died in 1694. His Sermons, sold after his death for nearly £3000, are his only literary remains. They are strong and sensible, but often without much literary grace.
ISAAC BARROW, the predecessor of Newton in his mathematical professorship at Cambridge, was born in London in 1630. His father was a linen-draper. Barrow was a man of versatile talent. Anatomy, chemistry, mathematics, astronomy, Greek, optics, and theology,—all engaged his attention at various times; and in all he did well. His literary works are chiefly mathematical and theological. The former are in Latin; the latter, consisting of sermons and polemical treatises, were written with much care,
and are remarkable for easy fertility of thought. Barrow died of fever in 1677, having attained the honourable stations of Master of Trinity, and Vice-Chancellor of his University.
SAMUEL PEPYS, son of a London tailor, rose, by the help of his cousin Montagu, to be Secretary to the Admiralty under Charles II. and James II. He is worth remembrance as the writer of a most amusing Diary, originally kept in short-hand, which depicts the life of the time even to the minutest details of dinners, lace, and coat-buttons. The vanities and faults of the writer himself are displayed with comical unconcern. But the poor fellow had little notion that readers of the nineteenth century would have many a hearty laugh over his secret memoranda. He died in 1703.
ROBERT South, reputed to have been the wittiest of the old English divines, was the son of a London merchant, and was born in 1633 at Hackney. Educated at Oxford, he was chosen Public Orator in 1660. Besides being chaplain to Lord Chancellor Clarendon and rector of Islip in Oxfordshire, he held some other valuable livings. South's wit, unhappily, was often mixed with
Extreme in his opinions, he held all Nonconformists in abhorrence. But his love of royalty was fully as strong as his attachment to the National Church. No clergyman of his day exceeded him in the fervour of those sermons in which he maintained the doctrines--so delightful to the Stuarts—of passive obedience and divine right. South died in 1716. In spite of his intolerance as a public preacher, he bore the private reputation of a good and charitable man,
POISON OF THE RESTORATION ERA.
FIFTH ERA OF ENGLISH LITERATURE.
FROM THE DEATH OF MILTON IN 1674 A.D. TO THE FIRST
PUBLICATION OF THE TATLER IN 1709 A.D.
THE COURT OF CHARLES II.
Spread of vice.
It is not our purpose to present a minute picture of the courtlife, rotten to the very core, which blighted English morals and English literature during the reign of the second Charles. But, to preserve the completeness of our plan, this painful and repulsive subject must be touched upon; for there are many of our English writers whose spirit cannot be fully understood unless we know at least a little of the moral air they breathed, and the fountains from which they drank their inspiration. Mephitic air and poisoned streams they truly were from which the courtly authors of the Restoration Era drew the sustenance and productive power of their minds. The little band of Puritan authors, folded in the mantle of righteousness, stood apart,—untainted and serene.
These Puritans, when in the ascendant, had with an iron hand crushed down many amusements, the desire of which is a natural appetite of man, and had thus created a hunger and a longing for the forbidden things, which became an unappeasable frenzy when the Restoration brought a change. The nation then plunged madly into
AN EVENING SCENE AT WHITEHALL.
the opposite extreme. And when we remember that from France with the restored King, there came a troop of new fashions and amusements, which were but the old vices of human nature tricked out in modern attire, we shall see what kind of food the royal Court provided for the famished people.
An utter absence of shame marked the mode of life in this most wicked age. It was not that gambling as high, drinking as deep, adulteries as vile, had not been in other reigns. What stamps the reign of Charles II. with a deeper brand of infamy is the fact, that there was no attempt to throw even the thinnest veil over the evil that was rampant everywhere. The blush of innocence seemed almost forgotten in the courtcircles of England. Men and women were alike immoral nay, depraved.
On Sunday the first of February, 1685—the night before Charles was seized with his mortal illness—the great gallery of Whitehall presented a scene of “ inexpressible luxury and profaneness, gaming and all dissoluteness," which may be taken as a specimen of what had been witnessed there a thousand times before during his disgraceful reign. The king sat talking with three of his mistresses. A French page, on whom the royal hand delighted to shower presents of ponies, guineas, and fine clothes, sang love-songs to the group. At a large table close by, where two thousand yellow guineas were heaped into a great bank, sat twenty of the profligate courtiers playing basset, then the fashionable game at cards. This went on, as it had been going on for five and twenty years, in the full gaze of all who chose to come and see. Little wonder that the poison should spread right and left, sinking down to the lowest classes of the people; and still less wonder that such shameless, undisguised licentiousness, should be faithfully reflected in the plays and the books, which were written in the hope of extracting smiles and gold from the beautiful profligates and high-born gamesters who surrounded the sullied throne.
Whitehall, as was natural, gave the tone to all English society; and books are but the reflection of what society thinks and does.