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read diligently, reformed authors to find means against the new heresy, by which they may happily come to discover more truth than they looked for, and at last find (which is most true), that since the Apostles left the world, no book but the Bible nor any definitions are infallible. Pray pardon this impertinent rude scribble of Sir, your exceedingly obliged and thankful servant, Thomas BARLow
John Evelyn to Mr. Sprat, “ Chaplain to the Duke of Buckingham, afterwards
Upon receipt of the Doctor's letter, and the hint of your design, which I received at Oxford in my return from Cornbury, I summoned such scattered notices as I had, and which I thought might possibly serve you in some particulars relating to the person and condition of Sorbiere. His birth was in Orange, where he was the son of a Protestant, a very indigent and poor man, but however making a shift to give him some education as to letters. He designed him for a minister, and procured him to be pedagogue to a cadet of Monst. le Compte de la Suze, in whose family he lived easily enough, till being at length discovered to be a rampant Socinian, he was discharged of employment, but in revenge whereof ('tis reported) he turned apostate, and renounced his religion, which had been hitherto Huguenot. I forgot to tell you that before this he obtained to be made a schoolmaster to one of the classes in that city; but that promotion was likewise quickly taken from him upon the former suspicion. He has passed through a thousand shapes to ingratiate himself in the world ; and after having been an Aristarchus, physician (or rather mountebank), philosopher, critic, and politician (to which last he thought himself worthily arrived by a version of some heterodox pieces of Mr. Hobbes), the late Cardinal Mazarin bestowed on him a pitiful canonicat at Avignon worth about 200 crowns per ann., which being of our money almost 50 pounds, is hardly the salary of an ordinary curate. But for this yet he underwent the basest drudgery of a sycophant in flattering the Cardinal upon all occasions the most sordidly to be imagined, as where I can show you him speaking of this fourb for one of the most learned persons of the age. He styles himself Historiograph du Roy, the mighty meed of the commonest Gazetteer, as that of Conseiller du Roy is of every trifiing pettifoger, which is in France a very despicable qualification. It is certain that by some servile intelligences he made shift to screw himself into the acquaintance of many persons of quality, at whose tables he fed, and where he entertained them with his impertinencies. A great favourite of our late republic he was, or rather of the villainy of Cromwell, whose expedition at sea against Holland he infinitely extols, with a prediction of his future glorious achievements, to be seen in an epistle of his to Mons. de Courcelles, 1652, and upon other occasions: not to omit his inciting of our Roman Catholics to improve their condition under his Majesty by some effort, which smells of a rebel spirit, even in this relation which he presumes to dedicate to the French King. Thus as to the person of that man and his communications : for the rest n which this audacious delator sufficiently exposes himself to your mercy, I forbear to add ; unless it be to put you in mind of what occurs to me in relation to your vindicating my Lord Chancellor, whom all the world knows he has most injuriously vilified ; and you have an ample field to proceed on, by comparing his birth and education with that of his Cardinal Patron, whom he so excessively magnifies, and even makes a demigod. My Lord Chancellor” is a branch of that ancient and honourable family of Norbery in Cheshire, as it is celebrated by Mr. Camden in his Britannia, and so famous for the long robe, that an uncle's son of his present Lordship came to be no less a man than Lord Chief Justice of England not long since, which dignity runs parallel with their Premier President de Paris, one of the most considerable charges of that kingdom. Nor has this person ascended to this deserved eminency without great and signal merits, having passed through so many superior offices; as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Privy Councillor, Ama This letter alludes to Mons. Sorbiere's Voyage to England, then just published ; and also to Observations on the same Voyage by Dr. Pratt. to Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon.
bassador Extraordinary, &c., not to mention his early engagement with his Majesty Charles I in a period of so great defection ; the divers weighty affairs he has successfully managed, fidelity to the present King, his eloquent tongue, dexterous and happy pen, facetious conversation and obliging nature, all of them the products of a free and ingenious education, which was both at the University and Inns of Court, now crowned with an experience and address so consummate, that it were impossible this satirist should have hit on a more unreasonable mistake, than when he refined upon the qualifications of this illustrious Minister. You will meet in a certain letter of the old King's to his consort the Queen Mother, that his Majesty long since had him in his thoughts for Secretary of State. But these topics were infinite ; and 'tis no wonder that he should thus defame a Chancellor, who has been so bold as to dare to censure a crowned head, and to call in question the procedure of the King of Denmark about the affair of Cornlitz Ulefield", for which Monsieur l'Abbé de Palmyre has perstringed him to that purpose, and published it in French, together with some observations of an English gentleman upon the relation of Sorbiere, in which those unworthy and malicious imputations of lacheté and baseness in your nation is perfectly vindicated, even by citations only of their own French authors, as namely André du Chesney, Antoine du Verdier, Philip de Commines, and others of no mean name and estimation amongst their most impartial historians, sufficient to assert the courage and gallantry of the English, without mentioning the brave impressions the nation has made even into the very bowels of their country, which after the winning of several signal battles, they kept in subjection some hundreds of years. You cannot escape the like choice which he made by which to judge and pronounce of the worth of English books, by the learned collection he carried over with him of the works of that thrice noble Marchioness", no more than of his experience of the English diet by the pottage he ate at my Lord of Devonshire's : but it is much after the rate of his other observations ; or else he had not passed so desultorily our Universities and the Navy, with a thousand other particulars worthy the notice and not to be excused in one pretending to make relations; to omit his subtle reflections on matters of state, and meddling with things he had nothing to do with : such as were those false and presumptuous suggestions of his that the Presbyterians were forsooth the sole restorers of the King to his throne; and the palpable ignorance of our Historiograph Royal where he pretends to render an account of divers ancient passages relating to the English Chronicle, and the jurisdiction and legislative power of Parliaments, which he mingles and compares with that of Kings, to celebrate and qualify his politics: upon all which you have infinite advantages. It is true he was civilly received by the Royal Society, as a person who had recommended himself to them by pretending he was secretary to an assembly of learned men formerly meeting at Monst. Monmors at Paris; so as he had been plainly barbarous not to have acknowledged it by the mention he makes; whiles those who better know whose principles the Mushrooms is addicted to, must needs suspect his integrity ; since there lives not on the earth a person who has more disobliged it. Sir, I am, &c. P.S. I know not how you may have design'd to publish your reflections upon this disingenuous Traveller; but it would certainly be most communicative and effectual in Latin, the other particular of his relation coming only to those who understand the French, in which language it is already going to be printed.
John Evelyn to the Honourable Robert Boyle Sayes-Court, Nov. 23, 1664 SIR,--The honour you design me by making use of that trifle which you were lately pleased to command an account of, is so much greater than it pretends to merit, as indeed it is far short of being worthy your acceptance : but if by any service of mine in that other business, I may hope to contribute to an effect the most agreeable to your excellent and pious nature, it shall not be my reproach that I did not my best endeavour to oblige it. I do every day both at London and at home, put Sir Richard in mind of this suppliant's case; and, indeed, he needs no monitor, myself being witness that he takes all occasions to serve him in it ; nor wants there any dispositions (as far as I can perceive), but one single opportunity only, the meeting of my Lord Privy Seal (who, for two or three Council days, has been indisposed, and not appeared), to expedite his request ; there being a resolution (and which Sir Richard promises shall not slacken), both to discharge the poor man's engagements here, and afford him a competent viaticum. As for that sacred work you mention, it is said there is a most authentic copy coming over, the laudable attempt of this person being not so fully approved. This is, in short, the account I have, why the impression is retarded. I should else esteem it one of the most fortunate adventures of my life, that by any industry of mine i might be accessory in the least to so blessed an undertaking. If my book of architecture do not fall into your hands at Oxon, it will come with my apology, when I see you at London ; as well as another part of the Mystery of Jesuitism, which (with some other papers concerning that iniquity) I have translated, and am now printing at Royston's, but without my name. So little credit there is in these days in doing anything for the interest of religion. I know not whether it becomes me to inform you, that it has pleased his Majesty to nominate me a Commissioner to take care of the sick and wounded persons during this war with our neighbours : but so it is, that there being but four of us designed for this very troublesome and sad employment, all the ports from Dover to Portsmouth, Kent, and Sussex, fall to my district alone, and makes me wish a thousand times I had such a colleague as Mr. Boyle, who is wholly made up of charity, and all the qualifications requisite to so pious a care. But I cannot wish you so much trouble; the prospect of it would even draw pity from you, as well in my behalf, as for the more miserable, who foresee the confusion and importunities of it, by every article of our busy instructions. But the King has laid his positive commands on me, and I am just now going towards Dover, &c., to provide for mischief. Farewell : sweet repose, books, gardens, and the blessed conversation you are pleased to allow, dear Sir, your most affectionate and most obedient servant, J. EvelyN
* Count Cornelius Ulefield Oxenstiern, Danish Prime Minister.
* Margaret Cavendish, Marchioness, afterwards Duchess of Newcastle, a very voluminous writer, both in verse and prose. There are fourteen volumes of her works in thin folios—greater favourites with Charles Lamb two hundred years after her Grace's death, than they appear to have been with Evelyn in her lifetime.
* Mr. Hobbes.
P.S. Mr. Goldman's Dictionary is that good and useful book which I mentioned to you. Here is Mr Stillingsleet's new piece in vindication of my Lord of Canterbury's. I have but little dipped into it as yet : it promises well, and I very much like the epistle ; nor is the style so perplexed as his usually was. Dr. Mer. Causabon, I presume is come to your hands, being a touch upon the Saille OCCaS1011. One Rhea' has published a very useful and sincere book, concerning the culture of flowers, &c., but it does in nothing reach my long since attempted design of that entire subject, with all its ornaments and accessories, which I had shortly hoped to perfect, had God given me opportunity. Your servant, my Wife, most humbly kisseth your hands, as I do Dr. Barlow's, &c.
To my Lord Viscount Cornbury" London, 9 Feb., 1664-65 My Lord, Being late come home, imagine me turning over your close printed memoirs, and shrinking up my shoulders; yet with a resolution of surmounting the difficulty, animated with my Lord Chancellor's and your Lordship's commands, whom I am perfectly disposed to serve, even in the greatest of drudgeries, the translation of books". But why call I this a drudgery who would not be proud of the service P By the slight taste of it, I find God and the King concerned and I will in due time endeavour to present your Lordship and the world with the fruits of my obedience, cheerfully, and with all due regards: nor is it small in my esteem that God directs you to make use of me in anything which relates to the Church, though in my secular station. I began indeed (as your Lordship well remembers) with that Essay on St. Chrysostom some years since upon that consideration, though prompted by a lugubrious occasion, such a one (though in no respect so great a one) as what I but too sensibly perceive afflicts my Lord your father ; ior as I last beheld his countenance, in thought I saw the very shaft transfixing him ; though the greatness of his mind, and pious resignation" suffer him to do nothing weakly, and with passion. Besides the divine precepts, and his Lord's great example, I could never receive anything from philosophy that was able to add a grain to my courage upon these irremediless assaults like that Enchiridion and little weapon of Epictetus, Nunquam to quicquam perdidisse dicito, sed reddidisse, says he . Filius obijt P redditus est , 1t is in his 15th chap. Repeat it all to my Lord, and to yourself; you cannot imagine what that little target will encounter ; I never go abroad without it in my pocket. What an incomparable guard is that Td a rix ép huiv | cap. I, where he discourses of the things which are and are not in our power . I know, my Lord, you employ your retirements nobly ; wear this defensive for my sake, l had almost said this Christian office. But, my Lord, I am told, we shall have no Lent indicted this year. I acknowledge, for all Dr. Gunning", that I much doubt of its apostolical institution : but I should be heartily sorry a practice so near to it, so agreeable to antiquity, so useful to devotion, and in sum so confirmed by our laws, should now fail, and sink, that his Majesty and his laws are restored. I know not what subtle and political reasons there may be : It were better, flesh should be given away for a month or two to the poor in some great proportion, and that particular men should suffer, than a sanction and a custom so decent should be weakened, not to say abrogated ; believe, 'twill not be so easy a thing to resume a liberty of this nature, which gratifies so many humours of all sorts. Because God gives us plenty, must we always riot If those who sit at the helm hearken to the murmurs of impertinent and avaricious men, pray God they never have cause to repent of the facility when 'tis too late. I know religious lasting does not so much consist in the species and quality as the quantity; nor in the duration, as the devotion : I have always esteemed abstinence a tanto beyond the fulfilling of periods and quadragesimas ; nor is this of ours every where observed alike by Christians ; but since all who are under that appellation do generally keep it where Christ is named (I do not mean among the Romanists alone), a few imperfect reforms excepted, methinks a reverend and ancient custom should not so easily be cancelled ; for so I look on it, if once we neglect the indiction. But were that for one fortnight, with a strict proclamation, and less indulgence to the faulty (as they call that shop of iniquity) and some other pretenders to liberty; in my opinion it would greatly become the solemn, and approaching station of the Passion-week : and I would to God it were reduced but to that, that the irksomemess might not deter the more delicate, nor the prohibition those whose interest it is to sell flesh. We in this island have so natural a pretence to mingle this concern of devotion into that of the state, that they might be both preserved without the least shadow of superstition; and if once our fishery were well retrieved (than which nothing could be more popular, nor endear the person who should establish it) the profit of that alone would soon create proselytes of the most zealous of our carnivorous Samaritans. Why should there be an interruption of our laws for a year, to the infinite disadvantage of the Church of England in many regards 2 My Lord, you are a pious person, and the Lenten abstinence minds me of * Mysterie of Jesuitisme, and its pernicious consequences as it relates to Kings and States, who I published this yeare. (Evelyn's Note.) * Upon ye death of his sonne Edward, a brave and hopefull young man.' (Evelyn's Note.) * Dr. Peter Guuning, Bishop of Ely. He died July 6, 1984, aet. 71.
* Q 2 the celebrated Ray.
b Henry Hyde, Lord Cornbury, was the eldest son of Sir Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, whom he succeeded in his titles and estate, Dec. 29, 1674. He had two wives. The first was Theodosia, daughter of Arthur Capel, Earl of Essex, beheaded for his loyalty to King Charles I; and the second, alluded to in a subsequent letter by Evelyn, was Flower, widow of Sir William Backhouse of Swallowfield, Berks, Bart., by whom he had no issue. By this marriage Lord Cornbury became possessed of the manor and house at Swallowfield. The celebrated Lord Chancellor Clarendon resided at his son's house after his retireinent from public life, and there wrote The History of the Greal Rebellion.
another incongruity that you Parliament-men will I hope reform, and that is the frequency of our theatrical pastimes during that indiction. It is not allowed in any city of Christendom so much as in this one town of London, where there are more wretched and obscene plays permitted than in all the world besides. At Paris 3 days; at Rome 2 weekly ; and at the other cities of Florence, Venice, &c., but at certain jolly periods of the year, and that not without some considerable emoluments to the public ; whiles our interludes here are every day alike : so as the ladies and the gallants come reeking from the play late on Saturday night, to their Sunday devotions; and the ideas of the farce possess their fancies to the infinite prejudice of devotion, besides the advantages it gives to our reproachful blasphemers. Could not Friday and Saturday be spared ; or, if indulged, might they not be employed for the support of the poor, or as well the maintenance of some workhouse as a few debauched comedians ? What if they had an hundred pound per ann. less coming in ; this were but policy in them; more than they were born to, and the only means to consecrate (if I may use the term) their scarce allowable impertinences. If my Lord Chancellor would be but instrumental in reforming this one exorbitancy, it would gain both the King and his Lordship multitudes of blessings. You know, my Lord, that I (who have written a play", and am a scurvy poet too sometimes) am far from Puritanism; but I would have no reproach left our adversaries in a thing which may so conveniently be reformed. Plays are now with us become a licentious excess, and a vice, and need severe censors that should look as well to their morality, as to their lines and numbers. Pardon this invective, my Lord, nothing but my perfect affection for your person and your virtue could have made me so intemperate ; and nothing but my hopes that you will do the best you can to promote the great interest of piety, and things worthy your excellent opportunities, could have rendered me thus prodigal of my confidence. Season my Lord your father with these desiderata to our consummate felicity ; but still with submission and under protection for the liberty I assume ; nor let it appear presumption irremissible, if I add, that as I own my Lord our illustrious Chancellor for my patron and benefactor, so I pay him as tender and awful respect (abstracted from his greatness and the circumstances of that) as if he had a natural as he has a virtual and just dominion over me; so as my gratitude to him as his beneficiary, is even adopted into my religion and till I renounce that, I shall never lessen of my duty; for I am ready to profess it, I have found more tenderness and greater humanity from the influences of his Lordship, than from all the relations I have now in the world, wherein yet I have many dear and worthy friends. My Lord, pardon again this excess, which I swear to you, proceeds from the honest, and inartificial gratitude of, my Lord, your, &c.
John Evelyn to Sir Thos. Clifford, afterwards Lord High Treasurer
SIR,-Upon receipt of yours of the 17th instant, I repaired to my Lord Arlington, and from him to his Majesty, who on sight of your letter added his particular commands, that upon arrival of the prisoner I should immediately bring young Everse to him, and that then he would instruct me farther how he would have him treated ; which I perceive will be with great respect, and some think with liberty : for the other Captain, that I should pursue his Royal Highness's directions, and in order to this, I have commanded my Marshal to be ready. I am Sorry we are like to have so many wounded men in their company, but I have taken all the care I can for their accommodation : I pray send me a list of the names and qualities of our prisoners, they being so apt to contrive and form stories of themselves, that they may pass for Embdeners or Danes. I thank God all our affairs here are in good order. I did yesterday repair to the Commissioners of the Navy to remove the obstruction which hindered our Receiver from touching the effects of our Privy Seal, they pretending a defect in the order, which I have been fain to carry back to the Council. Colonel Reymes writes for 4,700. Sir, here have been an host of women, making moan for their loss in the
* Thyrsander, a tragi-comedy, mentioned in Evelyn's list of MSS., as among the “things he would write out faire and reforme if he had leisure."