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TO THE EARL OF ESSEX.
BY MR J. BANKS, 1682.
SPOKEN TO THE KING AND THE QUEEN AT THEIR COMING TO THE HOUSE.
WHEN first the ark was landed on the shore,
Without our blood our liberties we have;
LOYAL BROTHER, OR, THE PERSIAN PRINCE.
THE "Loyal Brother, or, The Persian Prince," was the first play of Southerne, afterwards so deservedly famous as a tragic poet. It is said to be borrowed from a novel, called, “ Tachmas, Prince of Persia." The character of the Loyal Brother is obviously designed as a compliment to the Duke of York, whose adherents and opponents now divided the nation. Southerne was at this time but three-and-twenty. It is said, that, upon offering Dryden five guineas for the following prologue, which had hitherto been the usual compliment made him for such favours, the bard returned the money; and added, "not that I do so out of disrespect to you, young man, but the players have had my goods too cheap. In future, I must have ten guineas." Southerne was the first poet who drew large profit from the author's nights; insomuch, that he is said to have cleared by one play seven hundred pounds; a circumstance that greatly surprised Dryden, who seldom gained by his best pieces more than a seventh part of the From these circumstances, Pope, in his verses to Southerne on his birth-day, distinguishes him as
Tom, whom heaven sent down to raise
The prologue, as might be expected, is very severe upon the whigs; and alludes to all the popular subjects of dispute between the factions. The refusal of supplies, and the petition against the king's guards, are slightly noticed, but the great pope-burning is particularly dwelt upon; and probably the reader will be pleased with an opportunity of comparing the account in the prologue with that given by Roger North, who seems to have entertained the same fear with Dryden, that the rabble might chuse to cry, God save the king, at Whitehall.
"But, to return to our tumults.—After it was found that there was to be a reinforcement at the next anniversary, which was in 1682, it is not to be thought that the court was asleep, or that the
king would not endeavour to put a stop to this brutal outrage. His majesty thought fit to take the ordinary regular course; which was, to send for the lord mayor, &c. and to charge him to prevent riots in the city. So the lord mayor and sheriffs attended the king in council; and there they were told that dangerous tumults and disorders were designed in the city upon the 17th of November next, at night, on pretence of bonfires; and his majesty expected that they, who were entrusted with the government of the city, for keeping the peace, should, by their authority, prevent all such riotous disorders, which, permitted to go on, was a misdemeanour of their whole body. Then one of them came forward, and, in a whining tone, told the king that they did not apprehend any danger to his majesty, or the city, from these bonfires; there was an ardour of the people against Popery, which they delighted to express in that manner, but meant no harm: And, if they should go about to hinder them, it would be taken as if they favoured Popery; and, considering the great numbers, and their zeal, it might make them outrageous, which, let alone, would not be; and perhaps they themselves might not be secure in resisting them, no not in their own houses; and they hoped his majesty would not have them so exposed, so long as they could assure his majesty that care should be taken, that, if they went about any ill thing, they should be prevented: or to this purpose, as I had it from undoubted authority. This was the godly care they had of the public peace, and the repose of the city; by which the king saw plainly what they were, and what was to be expected from them. There wanted not those who suggested the sending regiments into the city; but the king (always witty) said, he did not love to play with his horse. But his majesty ordered that a party of horse should be drawn up, and make a strong guard on the outside of Temple-Bar; and all the other guards were ordered to be in a posture at a minute's warning; and so he took a middle, but secure and inoffensive way; and these guards did not break up till all the rout was over.
"There were not a few in the court who either feared or favoured these doings; it may be both; the former being the cause of the latter. This puts me in mind of a passage told me by one present. It was of the Lord Archbishop of York, Dolben, who was a goodly person, and corpulent; he came to the Lord ChiefJustice North, and, My lord, said he, (clapping his hand upon his great self,) what shall we do with these tumults of the people? They will bear all down before them. My lord, said the Chief Justice, fear God, and don't fear the people. A good hint from a man of law to an archbishop. But when the day of execution was come, all the show-fools of the town had made sure of places; and, towards the evening, there was a great clutter in the street,
with taking down glass-windows, and faces began to shew themselves thereat; and the hubbub was great, with the shoals of people come there, to take or seek accommodation. And, for the greater amazement of the people, somebody had got up to the statue of Elizabeth, in the nich of Temple-Bar, and set her out like an heathen idol. A bright shield was hung upon her arm, and a spear put in, or leaned upon, the other hand; and lamps, or candles, were put about, on the wall of the nich, to enlighten her person, that the people might have a full view of the deity, that, like the goddess Pallas, stood there as the object of the solemn sacrifice about to be made. There seemed to be an inscription upon the shield, but I could not get near enough to discern what it was, nor divers other decorations; but whatever they were, the eyes of the rout were pointed at them, and lusty shouts were raised, which was all the adoration could be paid before the grand procession came up. I could fix in no nearer post than the Green-Dragon Tavern, below in Fleet-Street; but, before I settled in my quarters, I rounded the crowd, to observe, as well as I could, what was doing, and saw much, but afterwards heard more of the hard battles and skirmishes, that were maintained from windows and balconies of several parties with one and the other, and with the floor, as the fancy of Whig and Tory incited. All which were managed with the artillery of squibs, whereof thousands of vollies went off, to the great expence of powder and paper, and profit to the poor manufacturer; for the price of ammunition rose continually, and the whole trade could not supply the consumption of an hour or two.
"When we had posted ourselves at windows, expecting the play to begin, it was very dark, but we could perceive the street to fill, and the hum of the crowd grew louder and louder; and, at length, with help of some lights below, we could discern, not only upwards towards the Bar, where the squib war was maintained, but downwards towards Fleet-Bridge, the whole street was crowded with people, which made that which followed seem very strange; for, about eight at night, we heard a din from below, which came up the street, continually increasing, till we could perceive a motion; and that was a row of stout fellows, that came, shouldered together, cross the street, from wall to wall, on each side. How the people melted away, I cannot tell; but it was plain these fellows made clear board, as if they had swept the street for what was to come after. They went along like a wave; and it was wonderful to see how the crowd made way: I suppose the good people were willing to give obedience to lawful authority. Behind this wave (which, as all the rest, had many lights attending) there was a vacancy, but it filled a-pace, till another like wave came up; and so four or five of these waves passed, one after an