« PreviousContinue »
omission if he was forgot, and an odd strain of cle- 1660. mency if it was intended he should be forgiven. He was not excepted out of the act of indemnityq. And afterwards he came out of his concealment, and lived many years, much visited by all strangers, and much admired by all at home for the poems he writ, though he was then blind; chiefly that of Paradise Lost, in which there is a nobleness both of contrivance and execution, that, though he affected to write in blank verse without rhyme, and made many new and rough words, yet it was esteemed the beautifulest and perfectest poem that ever was writ, at least in our languager.
But as the sparing these persons was much cen- 1661. sured, so on the other hand the putting Sir Henry ^,aanr^cr Vane to death was as much blamed: for the declaration from Breda being full for an indemnity to all, except the regicides, he was comprehended in that *; since, though he was for changing the government, and deposing the king, yet he did not approve of the putting him to death, nor of the force put on the parliament, but did for some time, while these things were acted, withdraw from the sceneThis was so
1 His life was spared by the Salmon's Examination of Bishop
means of the famous sir Wil- Burnet's Hist. vol. i. p. 506.
liam Davenant, whose life he But there was an address in his
had saved under the former favour after this by the parlia
powers. O. ment, the prayer of which was
r A mistake, for it is in Eng- assented to by the king.) lish. S. * (" His hand was proved to
* (" In the Declaration from "a warrant issued out to the
"Breda, all those are excepted "officers of the navy to put the
"out of the indemnity, who "fleet in readiness, on that
"should afterwards be excepted "very 30th of January 1648.
"by parliament, and sir Harry "on which the king was mur
"Vane was excepted by name." "dered. He was proved also
i66i. represented by his friends, that an address was made by both houses on his behalf, to which the king gave a favourable answer, though in general words. So he reckoned that he was safe"; that being equivalent to an act of parliament, though it wanted the necessary forms. Yet the great share he had in the atl64tainder of the earl Strafford, and in the whole turn of affairs to the total change of government, but above all the great opinion that was had of his parts and capacity to embroil matters again, made the court think it necessary to put him out of the wayx. He was naturally a very fearful man: this one who knew him well told me, and gave me eminent instances of it. He had a head as darkened in his notions of religion, as his mind was clouded with fear y: for though he set up a form of religion in a
"to be an acting member in
u So did every body at that
"murderers of his father, they "(the lords and commons) "not finding sir Henry Vane "or colonel Lambert to be of "that number, are humble "suitors to his majesty, that if "they shall be attainted, yet "execution as to their lives "may be remitted." The king's answer, as reported by the lord chancellor, was, "That his ma"jesty grants the desires in "the said petition." It is true, in the next parliament, there was an address to prosecute them. Lambert was attainted as well as sir Henry Vane, but his life was spared. He lived several years afterwards in prison, and died a papist. O.
* A malicious turn. Vane was a dangerous enthusiastic beast. S.
y See lord Clarendon's Hisway of his own, yet it consisted rather in a with- 1661. drawing from all other forms, than in any new or particular opinions or forms; from which he and his party were called seekers, and seemed to wait for some new and clearer manifestations. In these meetings he preached and prayed often himself, but with so peculiar a darkness, that though I have sometimes taken pains to see if I could find out his meaning in his works, yet I could never reach it. And since many others have said the same, it may be reasonable to believe he hid somewhat that was a necessary key to the rest. His friends told me he leaned to Origen's notion of an universal salvation of all, both of devils and the damned, and to the doctrine of pre-existence. When he saw his death was designed, he composed himself to it, with a resolution that surprised all who knew how little of that was natural to him. Some instances of this were very extraordinary, though they cannot be mentioned with decencyz. He was beheaded on Tower- AnJ cxecuHill, where a new and very indecent practice was''0"' begun. It was observed that the dying speeches of the regicides had left impressions on the hearers, that were not at all to the advantage of the government. So strains of a peculiar nature being expected from him, to prevent that, drummers were placed under the scaffold, who, as soon as he began
story of the Rebellion, vol. iii. made upon her, if she proved p. 544. O. with child: which occasioned z His lady conceived of him an unlucky jest when his son the night before his execution, was made a privy-counsellor S. He cohabited with his lady with father Peters in king the night before he was exe- James's reign. The earl of cuted, and declared he had Dorset said, he believed his fadone so, next morning; for ther got him after his head fear any reflection should be was off. D.
The king gave himself up to his pleasures.
to speak of the public, upon a sign given, struck up with their drums. This put him in no disorder. He desired they might be stopped, for he understood what was meant by it. Then he went through his devotions. And, as he was taking leave of those about him, he happening to say somewhat with relation to the times, the drums struck up a second time: so he gave over, and died with so much composedness, that it was generally thought the government had lost more than it had gained by his death a.
The act of indemnity passed with very few exceptions; at which the cavaliers were highly dissatisfied, and made great complaints of it. In the disposal of offices and places, as it was not possible to gratify all, so there was little regard had to men's merits or services. The king was determined to
"" Hamton courtc, Saturday,
"The relation that has
•done; acknowledge!ng no su-
*more to say to you. C." In
dorsed in Lord Clarendon's hand, The King, Jth June.
Sir Henry Vane was beheaded that day sennight, viz. 14th of June, 1662. See among the State Trials that of sir Henry Vane, especially the latter end of what is printed there. 16th of April, 1766.
The above letter I had copied from the original, which is in the possession of — (James West, of Covent Garden, Esq.) and which I saw, the 24th of June, 1759. Arthur Onslow.
I find this letter is lately printed in Dr. Harris's Account of king Charles the second. But how he came by it, I do not know. O.
Vane was beheaded for new attempts, not here mentioned. S.
most of these by the cabal that met at mistress Pal- 1661. mer's lodgings. And though the earl of Clarendon jgg did often prevail with the king to alter the resolutions taken there, yet he was forced to let a great deal go that he did not like. He would never make applications to mistress Palmer, nor let any thing pass the seal in which she was namedb, as the earl of Southampton would never suffer her name to be in the treasury books. Those virtuous ministers thought it became them to let the world see that they did not comply with the king in his vices. But whether the earl of Clarendon spoke so freely to the king about his course of life, as was given out, I cannot tell. When the cavaliers saw they had not that share in places that they expected, they complained of it so highly, that the earl of Clarendon, to excuse the king's passing them by, was apt to beat down the value they set on their services. This laid the foundation of an implacable hatred in many of them, that was completed by the extent and com-The act or
• nt n't • indemnity prehensiveness of the act of indemnity, which cut maintained, off their hopes of being reimbursed out of the fines, if not the confiscations of those, who had, during the course of the wars, been on the parliament's side. It is true, the first parliament, called, by way of derogation, the convention, had been too much on that side not to secure themselves and their friends. So they took care to have the most comprehensive words put in it that could be thought ofc. But
b For which reason the hus- chamber to the queen. She
band was prevailed upon, though was not created duchess of
with difficulty, to accept of an Cleveland till about the year
Irish patent to be viscount Cas- 1670. O.
lifted to be a lady of the bed- two parliaments many person;.