« ZurückWeiter »
of it. After consulting several ministers, whether she could, with safety to her promise, divulge the secret to a foreigner, bound out of the kingdom, and was noways likely to hurt him from whom she had the receipt, she gave it to me; and when I returned home, I soon spread it among my acquaintance.
It happened that Dr. Sacheverel's trial came on some months after I arrived in London, and I attended the trial in Westminster Hall one day, and had the pleasure of seeing the most brilliant assembly of lords, and ladies, and gentry; but, to my disappointment, the House of Lords adjourned, presently after my coming in, to consider a point of law; so that I heard none of the pleadings.
With some pleasant company, my own countrymen, I took a tour to Oxford, where, under the conduct of Mr. Caswell, professor of astronomy, an ingenious, most humble, and meek man, we were entertained with a view of the colleges, walks, gardens, theatre, libraries, and museum; and were diverted with the strange account the keeper of the museum gave us of its rarities, especially those from New England, which we knew much better than he did. While we were at Oxford we set out, in the rain, to see Blenheim House, built by the nation in honor to the great Duke of Marlborough, and fixed upon him and heirs forever. Though it was not finished, it appeared a magnificent and superb building, its gardens containing about sixty acres of land.
At another time, (at the desire of Mr. Mico, a merchant, brother to our Mr. Mico of Boston, to accompany a Connecticut farmer, who went to look after an estate he supposed he had right to there,) 1 took a journey as far as Staffordshire, through St. Albans, (where I viewed Duke Humphrey's sepulchre, or dined with Duke Humphrey, at 'tis called,) Dunstable, Woburn, Northampton, Coventry, to Lichfield, where we put up. We had the company of an elder and a 25 year old gentlewomen with us in the coach; who were at first very fearful and shy of us, as absolute strangers; but before we had travelled far, they became very easy and pleasant, being thoroughly gratified with our modest and entertaining conversation. The young lady we parted with the next day at noon, being received by a gentleman and lady in their coach, who waited for her at an appointed place; the elder lady still travelled with us to Lichfield. When we came to the inn, I was in a hurry for horses to carry us about seven miles farther, to Rudgley. The good old lady seeing me about to move off, said to me, "Sir, I can't part with you yet; I must treat you with a glass of burnt claret. I was somewhat fearful of you at first, as strangers, as we are often treated somewhat rudely by such in travelling with them; but really, sir, I never travelled with more agreeable company, nor was better pleased than with your conversation and behavior." I thanked her for her great compliment. u No, sir," said she, "it is no compliment; and I have been thinking how to acknowledge your civility. Will a receipt of the best bacon in England be acceptable to you?" I answered her, "Yes, madam, with my most hearty thanks for it." She sat down and wrote me a receipt, which, when I came home, I scattered abroad ; and from thence came all the right good bacon made in New England.
Upon my journey, it was my custom to send to the parson of the parish, after dinner, to come and take a glass of wine with a stranger; by which means I had the opportunity of seeing and sounding several clergymen, and found them generally very empty, and warm Jacobites. I lodged at Rudgley near a fortnight, and the first Sabbath attended the church service of the place, one Mr. Taylor being curate; and, as my custom was, waited upon the parson after the service was over, where I found four or five of the chief men of the parish. Mr. Taylor soon fell into a high encomium of Dr. Sacheverel, (who had a day or two before passed through Lichfield with a numerous cavalcade, as in triumph,) whom he esteemed the great defender of the church, which he thought would have gone near to have been pulled down by the Whigs, if it had not been for his famous (but really infamous) sermon. I made myself to appear to them as a stranger to, and very much unconcerned about, the controversy. However, 1 observed one thing to him, that 1 should have liked the Dr. better, if in his speech upon his trial he had abode by his principles in his sermon; whereas it seemed to me, that they did not well agree together. The parson said he could not think it possible for the Dr. not to be true, and consistent with himself. I asked him if he had seen the sermon and speech. He replied, he had seen neither of them. I thought so from his wild talk about them; and though I had both of them in my pocket, yet secreted them from him. One of thegentlemen present said, "Sir, I believe you have had a liberal education." I said to him, " Sir, I may not deny that I have had the advantage of such an education as my countryaffords, but am sorry I have made no better an improvement of it." Upon which the parson abruptly took me by the hand, and said, "Sir, let us take a turn into the garden." We did so, and left the company. He sent for the bottle and glass, and entertained me with idle chat about the flowers, &c.; so I quickly withdrew, and went to my lodgings. Being come there, I showed the gentleman of the house (who was one of them at the parson's,) Dr. Sacheverel's sermon; he had scarce read a page before he broke forth into violent exclamations against him, and thought he deserved to be hanged for preaching and printing such stuff. (It is to be noted, that I travelled with a long wig, a sword by my side with mourning hilt, and black clothes,—the court being then in mourning for the Prince of Denmark, Queen Anne's husband,—by which means I was taken for a small courtier, and treated as such by many country 'squires and knights I met withal.) The Sabbath after I attended at a parish church, about three miles distant from my lodging, where I heard a venerable, grave, ancient gentleman, who preached much in the strain of our Dr. I. Mather, with great plainness and fidelity, as one that aimed at making his hearers real Christians; which was a rare thing to be heard in the Church. I waited upon him after service, and found him and his aged wife two good, devout Christians; we spent the remainder of the day very agreeably and profitably together. About sunset I was for taking my leave; the good old gentleman would, in his great civility, accompany me, as I thought he designed, a few rods. But when we had gone over half a mile, I said to him, " Sir, I am ashamed to put you to so long a travel in your great age; I heartily thank you for your respects shown to me, and wish you a good night." "No, sir," said he, "I cannot part with you yet. I'll accompany you a little farther;" and he did so, notwithstanding all I could say, till we came to my lodgings. We refreshed ourselves a little after our walk, and then he arose to return home. 1 thought myself obliged to the like civility to him, and therefore accompanied him to his house, being favored with a bright moon, and again bid him a good night; but the good old gentleman would walk with me back again. When we arrived at a brook, about half way, I stopped and said to him, "Sir, your goodness to me is so great, that I am ashamed I cannot make you suitable returns; and though I have been entertained and pleased with your conversation and company, beyond what I have met with in England, yet I am even compelled, against my inclination, to say, I would not take a step farther, unless he allowed me to take leave of him." He replied, " Sir, though I have been greatly gratified with your company, yet, since it must be so, I wish you a good night; and may the blessing of God be with you." So we parted. I think the good man's name was Ridgley, an excellent Christian, a man of good learning, an apostolical preacher, of admirable meekness and humility, and great civility. While I was at Rudgley, I visited Uttoxeter, Wolverhampton, and Burton, from whence comes the best, stoutest, and finest ale in England; where, having occasion to converse with some lawyers, upon the affairs which carried me there, I was taken by them for a considerable lawyer. At length I returned to London.
There were many kind and pleasing proposals made to me, besides that of madam Gardiner's, which I neglected, for the same reason I did her's, my design to return in the ship I came in. Mr. William Whitingham, (whom I knew in Boston,) had a pleasant seat and living at Boston, in Lincolnshire; and meeting me in London, strongly invited me to go with him to his seat, and spend some time there, telling me the journey should cost me nothing. Capt. Robert Robinson, (formerly an apprentice to my good father, whose son, an admiral, has married my brother's only daughter,) commander of her Majesty's yatch, the Carolina, who then was about to carry over to Holland the great Duke of Marlborough, with other nobles, and their retinue, earnestly invited me to go with him, assuring me my trip to Holland should cost me nothing. But above all, the famous Mr. Rowe invited me to bear him company to Agford, when he was going down to marry the incomparable Philomela, whom I longed to see, saying my journey should be no charge to me. All of which I thought myself obliged to refuse, for the reason mentioned. Yet I was persuaded to stay longer in London, and I let the ship depart without me.
Attending at Dr. Brey's church, to hear Bishop Burnet, I had the favor of the Bishop's blessing.
Praying, upon a Fast, at Mr. Reynolds's, and Mr. Hunt's,
I was invited to sup with the ministers, which I did to my great satisfaction with their learned and devout conversation: when 1 took the opportunity of such a number of grave divines being together, to read to them, with their leave, the history of Maucompus, the giant Indian, sent over by me, from a learned, worthy divine of this country, as a specimen of a work he was about to offer to the world; but those great men, while they acknowledged the vast reading and ingenuity of the author, yet thought he was too credulous and easily imposed upon, and therefore concluded this was no recommendatiou of the larger work, from whence it was extracted.
When my Lord Wharton was about to go over to Ireland, as Lord Lieutenant, he desired a gentleman of great learning and ready wit, with whom 1 was particularly acquainted, to look out an agreeable chaplain for him. The gentleman immediately addressed himself to me, urging me to take the gown, and embrace the opportunity of going his chaplain; for he was the best natured nobleman in the kingdom, of regular life, the greatest friend to the Dissenters, would treat me with all goodness, and I should be in a fair way for preferment. After a considerable debate upon the affair, I said to the gentleman, "Sir, you know I was bred a Dissenter; and I could make many exceptions to the articles, the rubric, and the practices of the Church of England. Yet, to make short of it, I had read all I could meet with on both sides of the controversy, and was settled in my own judgment, but was no bigot, as he knew; and if he could give me any clear proof, and tolerable satisfaction, that the great Head of the church had empowered any man or number of men, civil or ecclesiastical, upon earth, to give law to his church, to appoint the regimen, modes of worship, and what ceremonies he or they pleased, I would turn Churchman to-morrow. But since the only Head of the church seemed to me to have reserved this power to himself alone, and ordered his ministers to teach only what he had commanded, I thought myself obliged to refuse coming under the yoke of bondage to any merely human authority; and therefore I could not accept his kind offer." After weighing in his mind what I had said, he found himself at a loss for a satisfactory answer, and said, "Then I find I must look out for another;" and this put an end to our conference about it.