The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 18/Examination of the Marquis de Guiscard
OF WHAT PASSED
AT THE EXAMINATION
THE MARQUIS DE GUISCARD,
AT THE COCKPIT, MARCH 8, 1710-11;
HIS STABBING MR. HARLEY;
AND OTHER PRECEDENT AND SUBSEQUENT FACTS, RELATING TO THE LIFE OF THE SAID GUISCARD.
FIRST PRINTED IN 1711.
FOR CREATING MR. HARLEY A PEER.
"Yesterday was sent me a narrative printed, with all the circumstances of Mr. Harley's stabbing. I had not time to do it myself: so I sent my hints to the author of the Atalantis; and she has cooked it into a sixpenny pamphlet, in her own style; only the first page is left as I was beginning it. But I am afraid of disobliging Mr. Harley or Mr. St. John in one critical point about it, and so would not do it myself. It is worth your reading, for the circumstances are all true." Journal to Stella, April 16, 1711. — The facts in this narrative are confirmed by several other passages in the dean's works; particularly in the Examiner, No. XXXII, (in the third volume of this collection); and the share he had in it is acknowledged in Memoirs relating to the Change in the Queen's Ministry, vol. IV; and in the Journal to Stella, Nov. 3, 1711.
TRUE NARRATIVE, ETC.
THERE is nothing received with more pleasure in history, than the minute passages and circumstances of such facts as are extraordinary and surprising. We often lament to see an important accident nakedly told, stripped of those particularities which are most entertaining and instructive in such relations. This defect is frequent in all historians, not through their own fault, but for want of information. For while facts are fresh in memory, nobody takes care to record them, as thinking it idle to inform the world in what they know already; and by this means the accounts we have of them are only traditional, the circumstances forgotten, and perhaps supplied with false ones, or formed upon probabilities, according to the genius of the writer.
But, beside the informing posterity on such occasions, there is something due to the present age. People at distance are curious and concerned to know the particulars of great events, as well as those in the metropolis; and so are the neighbouring nations. And the relations they receive are usually either very imperfect, or misrepresented on purpose by the prejudice of party in the relators.
I shall endeavour to avoid both these errours, in the fact I am going to relate; and, having made use of some good opportunities, to be informed from the first hands of several passages not generally known, I hope it will be in my power to give some satisfaction to the publick.
About six years ago there came into England a French papist, the younger brother of a noble family in that kingdom, called Antoine de Guiscard, abbot de Borly, near the Cevennes in France. And as it is the usual custom for cadets of quality there to betake themselves to the army or the church; Guiscard chose the latter, and had an abbey given him of a considerable revenue; but, being of a vicious and profligate nature, he fell into the most horrible crimes that a man can commit. Among other instances, it is said, that he seduced a nun. It is likewise reported, that he and his younger brother, suspecting their receiver had cheated, got the poor man to their house, and put him to the torture to force a discovery from him. Beside keeping a serrail in his abbey, when he used to receive a sum together from his revenue, his custom was, to go to Tholouse, and lavish it in all sorts of excesses. A young lady of a good family was so unhappy to be prevailed on, to her dishonour, by his brother. Monsieur de Guiscard was afterward employed to steal her from her father; but, falling in love with her himself, he carried her off from his rival into Switzerland. Satiety not long after succeeding, he was so inhuman to poison the poor unfortunate lady. After his flight, he was hanged in effigy by the magistrates at the principal town in Rouergue, for his intended rebellion. It is agreed on all hands, that, upon account of his many enormities (but, as himself terms them in his Memoirs, "private domestick concerns, and the crying injustice done his family,") he withdrew to his own lands in the province of Rouergue, contiguous to that part of Languedoc called The Cevennes; where he endeavoured to raise insurrections among the discontented people, of which he has published a very foolish account: but, having neither credit nor ability for such an undertaking, his success was answerable. He was forced to fly into Switzerland, without taking any measures for the safety of those poor wretches involved with him, and who had been so unhappy to be wrought by his insinuations. Thirty of the roman catholick persuasion (seduced by Guiscard into the design of rebelling for liberty, not religion) fell under the sentence of the magistrate, and were broken upon the wheel; though it is said, if monsieur de Guiscard, upon whom they depended for intelligence, had but delayed his flight only so long as to send notice to those gentlemen of the danger impending, they might all, or at least the greater number of them, have escaped as well as himself.
The marquis de Guiscard had an early, an undoubted, propensity to mischief and villany, but without those fine parts useful in the cabinet; he had not capacity to conduct a design, though he might have brain enough to form one; was wholly unacquainted with war, had never been in the army, a profligate abbot, who knew nothing of the soldier. Yet this man we find immediately made a colonel of a regiment of horse, and lieutenant general, with a pension, as it is said, from Holland, as well as from us. To do all this for one wholly ignorant of a camp, was foolish as well as scandalous.
Nor had adversity made any impression upon his manners. His behaviour here was expensive, luxurious, vicious; lavishing at play, and upon women, what was given him for his own support. Beside his continual good fortune with other ladies, he kept two in constant pay, upon whom he made a profuse and regular expense: one of those creatures was married; whom that he might possess with the greater ease, he procured her husband to be pressed; and sent away into the service: a transcript of that state cunning sometimes practised by great politicians (when they would disencumber themselves of an incommode) in affairs of the like emergency.
At first there was none more caressed than our foreign favourite. A late minister seldom saw a levee without him; though we admit that is not always a proof of being a favourite of those to whom they make their court. There are who crowd themselves where they have done the most sensible injuries, and against whom they have been guilty of the highest offence: but want of shame is one part of an ill man's character: as another branch is, that he can submit to the meanest things.
Monsieur de Guiscard had the misfortune to sink under his character, even to those great men who at first had most indulged him. His parts were too mean to balance or uphold him against a just contempt: be was found a useless villain, whose inferiour understanding could not answer expectation. Proving unserviceable, he was consequently discountenanced, dropped by degrees, and afterward totally neglected; his pension ill paid, and himself reduced to extremity. This put him upon making his peace with France: a common practice of such villains; whose only business being to support an infamous life in fulness of luxury, they never weigh what stands between them and the end.
The marquis de Guiscard had no religion, knew nothing of principles, or indeed humanity: brutish, bold, desperate, an engine fit for the blackest mischief; revengeful, busy to design, though full of inconsistencies, and preposterous in his management: his schemes impracticable to any less rash and inconsiderate, as may be seen at large in those his ill formed projects of rebellion against his prince: his aspect gloomy and forbidding, no false indication of the malignancy within. Nor could the evil in his nature be diverted by benefits. The present ministry, regarding him as a man of family, one who had been caressed in England, though they liked neither his principles nor his practice, thought it against the glory of the queen (who is the sanctuary of distressed foreigners) to let a gentleman of such birth want the supports of life; and therefore entered upon measures to pay him four hundred pounds a year, as part of that pension which at first was granted him, and had been for some time discontinued. He could no longer with any pretence be a malecontent: but he would not forego his treacherous design, nor his desire to make his peace at home. Mr. Harley discovered his correspondence: he knew he had wrote three letters to France, with advice of our affairs. This discovery was made a fortnight before monsieur de Guiscard's seizure. Mr. Harley was willing to convict him under his own hand; and accordingly took all necessary precaution, to have what letters he should write brought to the secretary's office. In the mean time persons were employed, that should give an account of all his motions; such who played with him, drank with him, walked with him; in a word, those who, under the pretence of diversion and friendship, should never lose sight of him, till that day, when he went to a merchant of his acquaintance in the city, and gave him a letter, with this request, "that he would be pleased to forward it, and let it be sent away with his own foreign letters."
This letter was brought to Mr. Harley; where he read monsieur Guiscard's advice to the ministers of France, "that they should invade England as soon as possible, whether they succeed or no; because the mischief it would do us would be irreparable: it would disconcert and divide us, ruin our credit, and do us a vast deal of hurt, &c."
On the eighth of March, the queen's inauguration day, monsieur de Guiscard, between two and three o'clock in the afternoon, was seized in the Mall, in St. James's park, by a warrant of high treason from Mr. secretary St. John, and carried by the queen's messengers to the Cockpit. He seemed then to have taken his resolution, and to determine that his ruin should be fatal to those persons who occasioned it, by desiring leave to send for a glass of sack, some bread and butter, and a knife. The woman of the coffeehouse sent him all but the knife, which was accidentally omitted. He was brought into the clerks' room, and kept there till the cabinet council was assembled; in that room he found a penknife, and took it away unperceived; which, as it is supposed, he hid in his sleeve; for there was none found in his pockets, which were searched before his examination.
There were present, at the committee of cabinet council, the lord keeper, lord president, duke of Ormond, duke of Newcastle, duke of Buckingham, duke of Queensberry, earl Poulet, lord Dartmouth, Mr. Harley, Mr. secretary St. John.
[Mr. Tilson, Mr. Hare, undersecretaries, sat at a table by themselves.]
Monsieur de Guiscard being brought in to be examined, Mr. secretary St. John, whose business it was to interrogate him, asked him some questions about his corresponding with France; and whether he had not sent letters thither? Monsieur de Guiscard denied it boldly: mean time his colour came and went. Earl Poulet, before he was brought in, had desired Mr. St. John to change places with Mr. Harley, that Guiscard's face might be full in the light, and his countenance better perceived, in any alteration that might happen at the questions that should be asked him.
The presence of that august assembly; the obligations the criminal had to some in particular, who had honoured him with their favour; and to all in general, as they were of the first rank among a people who had so generously refuged him in his misfortunes; his own guilt, and dread of being detected; might well cause an emotion in the mind and face of the most resolved, most hardened person. He flushed and turned pale, the posture of his feet restless and unassured, his hands in perpetual motion, fumbling in his pocket; which some of that noble assembly reflecting on, could yet well account for, by remembering it was his usual manner: a French air, which has been long since received in England, among some of our fine gentlemen, to a great degree of imitation.
Could one have looked into Guiscard's guilty soul, how terrible at that moment had been the prospect! his dread of conviction, his ingratitude, his treachery, his contempt or desire of death, his despair of Heaven, his love of his native country, his spirit of revenge, embroiled his thoughts, fermented his blood, roused his shame, and worked up his resolution to a pitch of doing all the service to France, and mischief he could to England. Like falling Sampson, to involve in his fate the strength of the enemy; yet he would make one push for life, and, till proof were produced, not give up a cause he could defend so easily as by denying the crime he was charged with; which he did with an undaunted assurance, till Mr. Secretary asked him, "If he knew such a gentleman?" naming the merchant with whom he had left the letter? At that, Guiscard rolled his eyes, assured of his ruin, yet surprised and shocked at the approach. The same question being repeated, he answered, "Yes, what of that?" Being pressed again to discover what he knew of his corresponding with France, he continued obstinate in his pretended ignorance; when Mr. secretary St. John produced his letter, and, with a force of eloquence inseparable from what he speaks, represented to monsieur de Guiscard the baseness, the blackness, of his crime; "to betray the queen, his benefactress; Britain, the country that had refuged, supported, trusted, honoured him by the command of her troops with such noble confidence, that made it double villany in him to be a villain;" exhorting him, "yet to be sincere, and give up to their information what he knew of the treacherous design he had formed."
Whilst the secretary's words were making an irresistible impression upon every mind but his to whom they were addressed; the criminal formed to himself the destruction of those two dreadful enemies of France, Mr. Harley and Mr. St. John. It seemed to him too hazardous to attempt the design at the full board; not in regard of his own life (that was already devoted), but lest they should not be both involved. It appeared reasonable to him, that if, upon the pretence of discovery, he could get Mr. St. John to withdraw, Mr. Harley might possibly be of the party, and he have a chance to murder both before they could be assisted. Accordingly, when he was pressed to discover, he desired to speak with Mr. St. John apart. The secretary told him, "That was impracticable: he was before the whole committee as a criminal; and what he had to say, must be said to all." Upon Guiscard's persisting to speak only to the secretary, they went to ring the bell, to call in the messengers, to carry him away; which he observing, cried out, "That is hard! not one word! pas un mot!" and, stooping down said, "J’en veux donc à toi, Then have at thee!" so stabbed Mr. Harley. Redoubling the stroke, the penknife broke, which he was not sensible of; but, rushing on toward Mr. St. John, overthrew the clerks' table that stood between. Mr. St. John saw Mr. Harley fall; and cried out, "The villain has killed Mr. Harley!" Then he gave him a wound, as did the duke of Ormond and the duke of Newcastle. Mr. St. John was resolved to have killed him, but that he saw Mr. Harley got up and walking about, and heard earl Poulet cry out, not to kill Guiscard." The messengers laid hold of him, and tore his coat. He raged, he struggled, he overthrew several of them, with the strength of one desperate or frantick, till at last they got him down, by pulling him backward by the cravat. Like a lion taken in the toils, he foamed, he grinned, his countenance seemed despoiled of the aspect of any thing human; his eyes gleamed fire, despair, and fury. He cried out to the duke of Ormond, whilst they were binding him, amid his execrations and his raving, "My Lord Ormond, Pourquoi ne mot dépêchez vous? Why do not you despatch me?" The noble duke made this memorable answer, "Ce n'est pas l'affair des honêtes gens; c'est l'affair d'un autre. It is not the work of gentlemen; it is the work of others."
Let us turn our eyes from so detestable an object, to another not less surprising, though of a quite different kind; where we shall behold a gentleman, arrived by long practice to that difficult attainment of possessing his soul in all conditions, in all accidents, whether of life or death, with moderation. This is the man that may truly be said to know himself, whom even assassination cannot surprise; to whom the passions are in such obedience, they never contend for sway, nor attempt to throw him from his guard. Mr. Harley, falling back in his chair by the redoubled stroke that was given him, and seeing them busy about taking Guiscard, by whom he imagined himself killed, did not call or cry for help; but, getting up as well as he could of himself, applied his handkerchief to the wound, to stop the bloody and keep out the air, walking about the room till they had time to come to him, not complaining nor accusing, nor encouraging them to revenge him upon Guiscard; his countenance serene, unaltered; so that, from his own behaviour, all his friends, particularly his tenderest Mr. St. John, hoped he was but slightly hurt. When Busiere the surgeon searched the wound, they were all surprised to find it so dangerous; the penknife was struck aslant and buried in the wound, which Mr. Harley himself took out, wiped, called for the handle, and said, "They belong to me." He asked "if the wound were mortal, as he had affairs to settle." Even in our incredulous age, we may term his escape a miracle: the blow was struck exactly upon his breastbone, which broke the knife; had it been an inch lower, it had touched the diaphragma, and all the world could not have saved his life: or a nail's breadth deeper, it would have reached his heart. I have heard it affirmed, "that, if one should attempt a thousand times at an imitation of Guiscard's design, without his rage and force; not once in that thousand times would it be probable that a life could escape the blow, as Mr. Harley's has done." He had a double deliverance, first from the knife striking upon the breastbone, and then from its breaking there; he must else have been murdered by the repetition of the blow. Neither was the cure less doubtful; the contusion was more dangerous than the wound itself: about a week after, the bruised blood fell down, which held his life in suspense. He had been ill for some time before, and was not as yet recovered.
As soon as Mr. Harley was dressed, he ordered the surgeon to take care of mons. de Guiscard; and was himself carried home in a chair, followed by the lamentations and prayers of the people for his recovery, who attended him to his own door with their sighs and sorrows.
The bold marquis, though subdued, was still untamed: his fury, despair, and desire of instant death, made him use his efforts to prevent the good intentions of the surgeon and the assistants. They were forced to keep him down by strength of hand, whilst his wounds were searched and dressed; after which, he was sent to Newgate, where he continued in the same violence of mind. He begged to die, he strove to die, by rubbing the plasters from his wounds; to prevent which, there were persons perpetually employed to watch on each side the bed.
If we read his sentiments in his own Memoirs, we may find they were always disposed to violence. Speaking to those whom he would draw into a confederacy against the king, "That it was better to die once for all, than to die in a manner a thousand times a day, always at the mercy of men who made it their business to embitter their life, and make it insupportable," p. 8. — In another place, "How can we better spend some few and uncertain days, which every moment are ended by some disease, by misfortune, or old age, than by making our name famous and immortal?" p. 14. — And thus, "Pusillanimous men, who, for want of courage, dare not attempt any thing at their peril, will never see an end of their misfortune," p. 46.
These, being his avowed tenets, may give us some light into a design so execrable, that it were sin to look into it with any other eyes but detestation. Mons. de Guiscard was to reconcile himself to France; which could not probably be done, but by something more notorious than his disaffection. Upon his deathbed examination, he told the lords, "There was something horrible he had to tell them! — for which he ought to be torn in pieces! — something inconceivable! — exceeding all barbarity!" — there he stopped, as if for breath, a reanmiation of spirits, or to recollect what he had to say. After a while, seeing he did not proceed, they reminded him to go on. He repeated those and many more such expressions. Being pressed to proceed, he fell into something very trifling, which he knew they knew already; said, "It was no matter — content — content —" meaning to die.
Upon their examination of him in Newgate, be seemed to boast his resolution and performance; bad them "judge what he was able to do in a good cause, had they thought fit to employ and trust him, since he could go so far in an ill one." The vanity of his nation kept him company to the last; he valued himself upon his intrepidity, his contempt of death, and thirst of honour, &c. The last time the lords were with him, he desired Mr. St. John's hand, and said "Pardonne, pardonne." Mr. St. John replied, "Je vous pardonne — Dieu vous pardonne!" — Guiscard repeating "Content — content" — he became delirious.
The roughness of his nature seems to have hindered him from encouraging that remorse which approaching death might occasion; else we should doubtless have had disclosed the blackest scene that any age has shown. It is very well known the eager desire he had for some time expressed to see the queen alone; the pretence of that audience he so earnestly importuned was, "To get his pension assured." He was of late often found in the antichamber, and at the backstairs. He generally carried a bottle of poison about him, supposed to answer the disappointment of some foreseen event. This, compared with his own words, and several letters from France and Holland at that time mentioning it was expected they should hear of a coup d'éclat en Angleterre, makes it almost past doubt that he did design to kill the queen; and, failing of his attempt there, stabbed Mr. Harley, as by his own confession he would have done Mr. St. John, because they were the two important lives that gave dread and anguish to that monarch, who has so long and often been the terrour of others.
The queen, all merciful and saintlike as she is, had herself the goodness (notwithstanding appearances were against him, in the supposition of his horrible intentions to destroy her) to appoint two surgeons and two physicians to attend him in Newgate, with whatever was befitting a man of family. This gracious treatment could depart only from a mind so conversant with Heaven, so near of kindred, as that of our pious queen!
Her cares and prayers were the balm that healed Mr. Harley's wound. The honour that was done him by the address of parliament will never be forgotten; nor her majesty's gracious answer. It is remarkable, that, when it was brought into the house of lords, the whigs all went out, except one, who raised a weak objection, "that monsieur de Guiscard was not a papist convict."
Notwithstanding the surgeons and physicians art and care, monsieur de Guiscard died in Newgate. His wounds, of which he received four in the forepart of his body, were cured; the fifth was in his back, which, the surgeons deposed, was not mortal. The jury gave in their verdict, "That his bruises were the cause of his death." It appeared, upon the examination of Mr. Wilcox, the queen's messenger, that it was he that wounded the marquis in the back, and gave him those bruises of which he died. Monsieur de Guiscard, in struggling with Wilcox, threw him against a window, which caused him to void above a quart of blood the same night.
His resolution, or rather obstinacy, continued to the last: he would not permit his wounds to be dressed, nor accepted of any nourishment but what was forced upon him: he made no profession of religion, had no show of remorse or contrition, nor desired the assistance of a priest. He was privately interred, by order from the court — a mercy no nation but ours would have conferred upon a spy, traitor, and an assassin!
Is it not obvious to all England, what had been our distress, in the confusion wherein so long a run of mismanagement has plunged us, if Heaven had permitted the knife of a barbarous foreigner to have robbed us of a minister, whose conduct, wise, stedfast, vigorous, extricates our affairs, and embroils the enemy? Does not the flourishing church of England owe him all things for her deliverance from presbytery and atheism; a miracle no less seasonable, than when she was assaulted by all the force of Rome? Were he not a sincere worshipper at our increasing altars, would he not reduce rather than multiply? Is not even our gracious sovereign indebted to him, for scattering those persons from about her, whose excessive tyranny strove to ruin all those who aimed to come at the queen but by them? Does he not sacrifice his quiet to the good of his country, without enriching his own family with her treasure, or decking himself with her honours; though she has none but what, with pride and joy, she is ready to bestow upon him? Was not his blood (even now devoted to the restless genius of France) spilt in dread of his pursuits and endeavours to reduce that monarch to humanity and reason? Is not his modesty so excessive, that he conceals, from those persons who have treated him as a traitor, the extent of his power, lest he should seem to insult their disgrace? Free from that false delicacy which so often makes people uneasy at what either the mistaken or our enemies say of us; his actions have their foundation on solid judgment, propped by a most extensive genius, unlimited foresight, and immovable prudence. France records her Richelieu, Mazarin, and Louvois: we talk with veneration of the Cecils. But posterity shall boast of Harley, as a prodigy, in whom the spring is pure as the stream; not troubled by ingratitude or avarice, nor its beauty deformed by the feature of any vice. The coming age will envy ours a minister of such accumulated worth; they will see and know how happy we were. Why then should we ourselves be wilfully blind, or wilfully ignorant of it? Is it not his distress, to be born among a people so divided? could he in any other country have failed of universal love and veneration? How long shall our divisions make us the sport and proverb of the neighbouring nations? Monsieur Quillet, by the purity of his Latin, has diffused our character throughout the world; and when the curious would be informed of the genius of the British people, the learned refer to him: It is thought the most beautiful part of his Callipædia; and, however the spirit of the author may have suffered by the change, I will present it to the reader in the English translator's words:
"If then from Calais you design to land
On England's vile, unhospitable strand,
There you shall find a race of monstrous men,
Where mangled princes strew the cyclops' den.
A false, ungrateful, and rebellious brood,
New from a slaughtered monarch's sacred blood.
They break all laws, all fancies they pursue,
And follow all religions but the true.
All there are priests, each differently prays,
And worships Heaven ten thousand different ways.
If by the mob the canting fool's admir'd,
The brother's gifted, and the saint inspir'd.
Hence the fanaticks rave, and wildly storm,
Convert by pistol, and by pike reform.
Nor are th' enthusiasts so abhorrent grown
To holy ceremonious rites alone:
An Englishman on all extremes will run,
And by consent be wilfully undone.
If an opinion thwart what ancients wrote,
He catches it, and bosoms up the thought.
Alcides would his club as soon resign,
As he a darling heresy decline.
"Yet we must do the sons of England right:
Some stars shine through the horrour of the night,
For navigation, and for skill renown'd
In sailing the terraqueous globe around.
To them no shore's untried, no sea's unknown,
Where weaves have murmur'd, and where winds have blown.
|Typhis and Jason, who in Argo came,|
|Lay no pretensions to so just a fame,|
|As Ca'endish, Willoughby, and Drake's immortal name."|
Is it not time to redeem our character, that the world, in applauding our courage, may no longer object our divisions? Though we disagree in religion; yet, for common good, we should, methinks, be glad to unite in politicks. Our ceremonies may differ, but our essentials are the same; and to people of reason, one would imagine, there needed not much persuasion, to join in those advantageous particulars, reputation and interest.
Parties break their force against one another, do the work of our foes, are weakened by perpetual animosities, hate their adversary at home much more strenuously than a foreign enemy, incapacitate themselves from doing all the injury they should to France, all the good they ought to England. Our piques and distastes for trifles have run us up to frenzy; the world beholds the hatred and aversion among us as lunacy in our blood, incurable but by letting forth; they foresee and long for a civil war, to reduce us to misery and reason; they flatter themselves that our dissensions tend that way, and prophesy they can have no end but with our ruin.
It is ourselves only can disappoint the hopes of our enemies, and extricate ourselves. The very Mahometans claim our pity, for being misled by the grand impostor; and shall a fellow christian be hated? Have we no arguments but bitterness and reproach? must we continue as violent against our neighbour at home, as brave in the field abroad? If we were not all Britons, or had different interests, something might be said for that eager desire of ruin, so conspicuous in the contending parties.
How ridiculous it appears to a reasonable man, who reflects how greatly our happy constitution is envied by our enemies, and how little valued or enjoyed by ourselves! We boast of liberty, and yet do all we can to enslave others to our opinions; meanwhile the common interest of the island is lost or forgotten, in the desire of gratifying our particular revenge and aversions.
We have now a queen and ministry of consummate piety, prudence, and abilities, who know the true interest of England, and will pursue it. The church is delivered from oppression and fears; religion secured, according to every Englishman's heart's desire. What should we next consider, but the interest of the body politick? Which way can that be so effectually carried on, as by calming our heats and animosities, by taking off the veil of prejudice and party which so long has blinded us; to have every individual consider what would be for the good of the whole, and sincerely to give into it? Were these measures faithfully pursued, France could never be formidable to England; nor the protestant religion here be under any apprehension from the restless and encroaching spirit of the Roman.
- Mrs. Manley was also employed by Dr. Swift, in "A Learned Comment upon Dr. Hare's excellent Sermon, preached before the Duke of Marlborough, on the Surrender of Bouchain;" and in "A true Relation of the several Tracts and Circumstances of the intended Riots and Tumults on Q. Elizabeth's Birthday;" and wrote "The Duke of Marlborough's Vindication, &c.;" See Journal to Stella, Nov. 3, 1711. Beside these three tracts (which are all inserted in this volume), she was supposed to have written "A Letter to the Examiner, concerning the Barrier Treaty Vindicated [by Dr. Hare];" "A modest Inquiry into the Reasons of the Joy expressed by a certain Set of People, upon the spreading a Report of her Majesty's Death;" and, "An Answer to Baron Bothmar's Memorial;" from hints suggested by the dean.
- Published in 1707, under the following title: "Authentick Memoirs, being Secret Transactions in the Southern Provinces of France, to rescue that Nation from Slavery. Dedicated to the Queen of Great Britain. By the Marquis de Guiscard, Lieutenant General of the Forces gone upon the present Descent." The Dedication is dated, Hague, May 10, 1705.
- At this period Guiscard derived a temporary support from fraudulent dexterity at the billiard-table, at which he appears to have excelled.
- Laurence Hyde, earl of Rochester, was appointed lord president in September 1710; and died May 2, 1711.
- "In one great Now, superiour to an age,
The full extremes of Nature's force we find;
How heavenly virtue can exalt, or rage
Infernal can degrade, the human mind.
"While the fierce monk does at his trial stand;
He chews revenge, abjuring his offence;
Guile in his tongue, and murder in his hand,
He stabs his judge, to prove his innocence.
"The guilty stroke, and torture of the steel
Infix'd, our dauntless Briton scarce perceives:
The wounds his country from his death must feel,
The Patriot views; for these alone he grieves."
Prior, Verses to Mr. Harley.
- Mons. Mesnager says, Mr. Harley was stabbed, "by un, scélérat François, a French miscreant, at the council-board, where that wretch was brought to be examined." And adds, in a strain of national vanity, "They may take notice in England, how good judges we are of men in France; and believe they have reason to be wary how they entertain any, who the wisest prince on earth, than whom none sees farther into the merits of men, has determined to be worthless, and not fit to be employed." See Minutes of the Negotiations of Mons. Mesnager at the Court of England, during the four last Years of the Reign of her late Majesty Queen Anne, containing many curious Particulars of those Times;" translated from the French in 1717, and published a second time in 1736.
- "Mean time thy pain is gracious Anna's care;
Our queen, our saint, with sacrificing breath,
Softens thy anguish: in her powerful prayer
She pleads thy service, and forbids thy death.
"Great as thou art, thou canst demand no more,
A breast bewail'd by earth, preserv'd by Heaven!
No higher can aspiring virtue soar:
Enough to thee of grief and fame is given.
- It was a joint address of both houses; but was first moved in the house of commons March 9, and immediately agreed to by the lords. Guiscard is called in it, "a French papist."
- This wound Guiscard never discovered to the surgeons till it had festered to the most amazing degree. Two quarts of old clotted blood came out of his side two days before he died.
- The author of the "Political State" (who never failed catching at every opportunity of abusing Dr. Swift) has severely reprehended this "Narrative," though he has copied from it very liberally. The above passage, in particular, he has taken upon him to censure; and asserts, that Guiscard desired Mr. Busiere to send for a priest; who told him, "he was acquainted with none; his business was only to dress him: and if he wanted a priest, he must apply himself to others." — It is amusing to observe with what dignity our author maintained his just superiority over the swarm of scribblers who continually infested him. They were treated by him, as they deserved, with the most sovereign contempt. Of the writer of the "Political State," he say's, "One Boyer, a French dog, has abused me in a pamphlet ["An Account of the State and Progress of the Present Negotiation of Peace, &c.]; and I have got him in a messenger's hands; the secretary promises me to swinge him. Lord treasurer told me last night that he had the honour to be abused with me in a pamphlet. I must make that rogue an example, for a warning to others." Journal to Stella, Oct. 16, 1711.
- He died in the fifty-second year of his age.
- In the "Comitia Philologica Academiæ Oxoniensis, 1713," is a prose oration by H. Muxloe, A. B., under the title of "Furor Guiscardinus," where the circumstances of this horrid transaction are properly enlarged upon.
- This great minister was, in the following year, in danger of losing his life by another scene of treachery; which is mentioned by Dr. Swift, in his Journal to Stella, Nov. 15, 1712.
- Alluding to his patronizing the bill for building fifty new churches.
- Lib. iv, ver. 8 — 25. It is but common justice to observe, with Mr. Rowe, that this character of our nation was given in the time of the civil war; which makes the severe censure agree very well with those days of confusion and villany.
- We have not scrupled to substitute Mr. Rowe's translation in which the original has suffered less by the change.