Memoirs of Count de Grammont
John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester; "a man," as Lord Orford observes, "whom the muses were fond to inspire, and ashamed to avow; and who practised, without the least reserve, that secret which can make verses more read for their defects than for their merits "(Noble Authors, vol. ii. p. 43); was born, according to Burnet and Wood, in the month of April, 1648; but Gladbury,in his almanac for 1695, fixes the date on April 1, 1647, from the information of Lord Rochester himself. His father was Henry, Earl of Rochester, better known by the title of Lord Wilmot. He was educated at Wadham College, Oxford, and, in 1665, went to sea with the Earl of Sandwich, and displayed a degree of valour which he never shewed at any period afterwards. Bishop Burnet says, he "was naturally modest, till the court corrupted him. His wit had in it peculiar brightness, to which none could ever arrive. He gave himself up to all sorts of extravagance, and to the wildest frolics that wanton wit could devise. He would have gone about the streets as a beggar, and made love as a porter. He set up a stage as an Italian mountebank. [For a copy of his speech on this occasion, see note 142.] He was for some years always drunk; and was ever doing some mischief. The king loved his company, for the diversion it afforded, better than his person; and there was no love lost between them. He took his revenges in many libels. He found out a
footman that knew all the court; and he furnished him with a red coat and a musket, as a sentinel, and kept him all the winter long, every night, at the doors of such ladies as he believed might be in intrigues. In the court, a sentinel is little minded, and is believed to be posted by a captain of the guards to hinder a combat; so this man saw who walked about and visited at forbidden hours. By this means Lord Rochester made many discoveries; and when he was well furnished with materials, he used to retire into the country for a month or two to write libels. Once, being drunk, he intended to give the king a libel he had writ on some ladies, but, by mistake, he gave him one written on himself. He fell into an ill habit of body, and, in set fits of sickness, he had deep remorses, for he was guilty both of much impiety and of great immoralities. But as he recovered, he threw these off, and turned again to his former ill courses. In the last year of his life, I was much with him. and have writ a book of what passed between him and me: I do verily believe, he was then so changed, that, if he had recovered, he would have made good all his resolutions." -- History of his own Times, vol. i. p. 372. On this book, mentioned by the bishop, Dr. Johnson pronounces the following eulogium:-- that it is one "which the critic ought to read for its elegance, the philosopher for its arguments, and the saint for its piety. It were an injury to the reader to offer him an abridgment." -- Life of Lord Rochester. [Pepys gives the following account of Lord Rochester's runaway match. May 28, 1665. "To my Lady Sandwiche's, where, to my shame, I had not been a great while. Here, upon my telling her a story of my Lord of Rochester's running away on Friday night last with Mrs. Mallett, the great beauty and fortune of the north, who had supped at White Hall with Mrs. Stewart, and was going home to her lodgings with her grandfather, my Lord Hally, by coach; and was at Charing Cross seized on by both horse and footmen, and forcibly taken from him, and put into a coach with six horses, and two women provided to receive her, and carried away. Upon immediate pursuit, my Lord of Rochester (for whom the king had spoke to the lady often, but with no success) was taken at Uxbridge; but the lady is not yet heard of, and the king mighty angry, and the lord sent to the Tower. Hereupon my lady did confess to me, as a great secret, her being concerned in this story. For if this match breaks between my Lord Rochester and her, then, by the consent of all her friends, my Lord Hinchingbroke stands fair, and is invited for her. She is worth, and will be at her mother's death (who keeps but little from her), 2,500l. per annum."] Lord Rochester died July 26, 1680.
At this time the Earl of Middlesex was Lionel, who died in 1674 The person intended by our author was Charles, then Lord Buckhurst, afterwards Earl of Middlesex, and, lastly, Duke of Dorset. He was born January 24, 1637. Bishop Burnet says, he "was a generous, good-natured man. He was so oppressed with phlegm, that, till he was a little heated with wine, he scarce ever spoke; but he was, upon that exaltation,
a very lively man. Never was so much ill-nature in a pen as in his, joined with so much good-nature as was in himself, even to excess; for he was against all punishing, even of malefactors. He was bountiful, even to run himself into difficulties, and charitable to a fault; for he commonly gave all he had about him when he met an object that moved him. But he was so lazy, that, though the king seemed to court him to be a favourite, he would not give himself the trouble that belonged to that post. He hated the court, and despised the king, when he saw he was neither generous nor tender-hearted." -- History of his own Times, vol. i. p. 370. Lord Orford says of him, that "he was the finest gentleman of the voluptuous court of Charles the Second, and in the gloomy one of King William. He had as much wit as his first master, or his contemporaries, Buckingham and Rochester, without the royal want of feeling, the duke's want of principles, or the earl's want of thought. The latter said, with astonishment, 'that he did not know how it was, but Lord Dorset might do any thing, and yet was never to blame.' It was not that he was free from the failings of humanity, but he had the tenderness of it too, which made everybody excuse whom everybody loved; for even the asperity of his verses seems to have been forgiven to
The best good man, with the worst-natured muse."
Noble Authors, vol. ii. p. 96. Lord Dorset died January 19, 1705-6.
[Pepys thus notices his connection with Nell Gwynn. July 13th, 1667. "Mr. Pierce tells us what troubles me, that my Lord Buckhurst hath got Nell away from the king's house, and gives her 100l. a year, so as she hath sent her parts to the house, and will act no more." And again, July 14th. "To Epsom, by eight o'clock, to the well; were much company. And to the towne to the King's Head; and hear that my Lord Buckhurst and Nelly are lodged at the next house, and Sir Charles Sedley with them: and keep a merry house. Poor girl! I pity her; but more the loss of her at the king's house." Also, August 26th. "Nell is already left by my Lord Buckhurst, and he makes sport of her, and swears she hath had all she could get of him; and Hart, her great admirer, now hates her; and she is very poor, and hath lost my Lady Castlemaine, who was her great friend, also; but she is come to the play-house, but is neglected by them all."]
Sir Charles Sedley was born about the year 1639, and was educated at Wadham College, Oxford. He ran into all the excesses of the times in which he lived. Burnet says, "Sedley had a more sudden and copious wit, which furnished a perpetual run of discourse; but he was not so correct as Lord Dorset, nor so sparkling as Lord Rochester." -- History of his own Times, vol. i. p. 372. He afterwards took a more serious turn, and was active against the reigning family at the Revolution; to which he was probably urged by the dishonour brought upon his daughter, created Countess of Dorchester by King James II. [The following well-known
anecdote refers to this circumstance. Sedley was one day asked why he appeared so inflamed against the king, to whom he was under so many obligations? "I hate ingratitude," he said, "and therefore, as the king has made my daughter a countess, I will endeavour to make his daughter a queen." Referring to the Princess Mary, wife of the Prince of Orange, who, by the success of this great outbreak, was called to the throne under the name of William III.] Lord Rochester's lines on his powers of seduction are well known. He died 20th August, 1701.
[Among other numerous frolics related of Sir Charles Sedley, that which took place in June, 1663, when he was in company with Lord Buckhurst, Sir Thomas Ogle, &c. at the Cock Tavern, in Bow Street, Covent Garden, as recorded by Anthony Wood (see his Life, p. 53, and his Athenæ, vol. iv. p. 732), is the most notorious. "His indecent and blasphemous proceedings there raised a riot, wherein the people became very clamorous, and would have forced the door next to the street open; but being hindered, he and his companions were pelted into the room, and the windows belonging thereunto were broken. This frolic being soon spread abroad, especially by the fanatical party, who aggravated it to the utmost, by making it the most scandalous thing in nature, and nothing more reproachful to religion than that; the said company were summoned to the court of justice in Westminster Hall, where, being indicted of a riot before Sir Robert Hyde, lord chief justice of the Common Pleas, were all fined, and Sir Charles to the amount of 500l. Sir Robert Hyde asked him whether ever he read the book called The Complete Gentleman, &c., to which Sir Charles made answer, that set aside his lordship, he had read more books than himself, &c. The day for payment being appointed, Sir Charles desired Mr. Henry Killegrew, and another gentleman, to apply themselves to his majesty to get it off; but instead of that, they beg'd the said sum of his majesty, and would not abate Sir Charles two-pence of the money."
Pepys thus alludes to a somewhat similar frolic in 1668: "Pierce do tell me, among other news, the late frolic and debauchery of Sir Charles Sedley and Buckhurst running up and down all the night, almost naked, through the streets; and at last fighting, and being beat by the watch and clapped up all night: and how the king takes their parts; and my Lord Chief Justice Keeling hath laid the constable by the heels to answer it next sessions: which is a horrid shame."]
Sir George Etheridge, author of three comedies, was born about the year 1636. He was, in James the Second's reign, employed abroad; first as envoy to Hamburgh, and afterwards as minister at Ratisbon, where he died, about the time of the Revolution. The authors of the Biographia Britannica say that his death happened in consequence of an unlucky accident; for that, after having treated some company with a liberal entertainment at his house there (Ratisbon), where he had taken his glass too freely, and being, through his great complaisance, too forward in waiting
on his guests at their departure, flushed as he was, he tumbled down stairs, and broke his neck, and so fell a martyr to jollity and civility.
A celebrated portrait painter, called Lely.
Sir Peter Lely was born at Soest, in Westphalia, 1617, and came to England in 1641. Lord Orford observes, "If Vandyck's portraits are often tame and spiritless, at least they are natural: his laboured draperies flow with ease, and not a fold but is placed with propriety. Lely supplied the want of taste with clinquant: his nymphs trail fringes and embroidery through meadows aud purling streams. Add, that Vandyck's habits are those of the times; Lely's a sort of fantastic night-gowns, fastened with a single pin. The latter was, in truth, the ladies' painter; and whether the age was improved in beauty or in flattery, Lely's women are certainly much handsomer than those of Vandyck. They please as much more as they evidently meaned to please. He caught the reigning character, and
------- on the animated canvas stole
The sleepy eye, that spoke the melting soul.
I do not know whether, even in softness of the flesh, he did not excel his predecessor. The beauties at Windsor are the court of Paphos, and ought to be engraved for the memoirs of its charming biographer, Count Hamilton." -- Anecdotes of Painting, vol. iii. p. 27. Sir Peter Lely died 1680, and was buried in St. Paul's, Covent Garden.
Merciless fate robbed her of life.
The lampoons of the day, some of which are to be found in Andrew Marvell's works, more than insinuated that she was deprived of life by a mixture infused into some chocolate. The slander of the times imputed her death to the jealousy of the Duchess of York.
[Pepys says in his Diary, Jan. 7th, 1666-7:-- "Lord Brouncker tells me, that my Lady Denham is at last dead. Some suspect her poisoned, but it will be best known when her body is opened to-day, she dying yesterday morning. The Duke of York is troubled for her; but hath declared he will never have another public mistress again; which I shall be glad of, and would the king would do the like." It appears that her body was never opened, and Aubrey says, "she was poisoned by the hands of the co. of Roc. with chocolate."]
-- he saw a very fine house, situated on the banks of a river, in the most delightful and pleasant country imaginable.
This was Bretby, in the county of Derby. A late traveller has the following reflections on this place:-- "Moving back again a few miles to the west, we trace, with sad reflection, the melancholy ruins and destruction
of what was once the boasted beauty of the lovely country, viz. Bretby, the ancient seat of the Earls of Chesterfield. Nothing scarce is left of thai former grandeur, those shades, those sylvan scenes that everywhere graced the most charming of all parks: the baneful hand of luxury hath, with rude violence, laid them waste. About ten years ago, the venerable and lofty pile was standing, and exhibited delightful magnificence to its frequent visitors: its painted roofs and walls, besides a large collection of pictures, afforded much entertainment to the fond admirer of antique beauties; and the whole stood as a lasting monument of fame and credit to its lordly owner. Would they were standing now ! but that thought is vain:-- not only each surrounding monument, but the very stones themselves, have been converted to the purpose of filthy lucre." -- Tour, in 1787, from London to the Western Highlands of Scotland, 12mo., p. 29.
Mademoiselle de I'Orme.
Marion de I'Orme, born at Chalons, in Champagne, was esteemed the most beautiful woman of her times. It is believed that she was secretly married to the unfortunate Monsieur Cinqmars. After his death, she became the mistress of Cardinal Richelieu, and, at last, of Monsieur d'Emery, superintendent of the finances.
Marquis de Flamarens.
A Monsieur Flamarin, but whether the same person as here described cannot be exactly ascertained, is mentioned, in Sydney's Letters, to have been in England at a later period than is comprehended in these Memoirs. "Monsieur de Flamarin hath been received at Windsor as seriously as if it had been believed the Queen of Spain's marriage should not hold unless it were here approved; and the formalities that are usual with men of business having been observed to him, he is grown to think he is so." -- Sydney's Works, p. 94.
The following account of the singular duel which was the occasion of this nobleman coming; to England is extracted from the "Memoirs of the Count de Rochefort," already quoted:--
"A fortnight or three weeks after, as I mentioned before, the quarrel took place between Messrs, de la Frette, which did not terminate very happily. The eldest happened to be present at a ball given at court, which was attended by numerous persons of distinction; on the company leaving the ball-room, this haughty man, who owed a grudge to M. de Chalais on account of a mistress, pushed purposely against him; M. de Chalais turning about to know the cause, and discovering la Frette, loaded him with the most opprobrious terms. Had swords been in the way, the affair would have taken a more serious turn, although the scene of action was ill adapted to such sort of discussions; that the ball etiquette however might not be disturbed, La Frette made no reply, but waiting until coming out, then demanded satisfaction. It was in consequence agreed on between them to fight three against three; and a spot being fixed upon, the next morning was appointed for the rencontre, it being then too late. In the mean time, the quarrel having happened too publicly to remain a secret, the king was informed of it, and immediately despatched the Chevalier St. Agnan, to inform La Frette that he forbade his having recourse to the means he proposed to avenge himself, and that if he still persisted in them, he should lose his head. The Chevalier St. Agnan, who was his first cousin, upon meeting with him, acquainted him with the commands of the king; to which La Frette made answer, that he considered him too much his friend, to suppose that he would be instrumental in preventing the intended meeting, which was only delayed until daybreak: he added that he had better be himself a party in the contest, and that Chalais would not fail providing a match for him. The Chevalier St. Agnan, without considering that he was sent by the king, and that even allowing duels had not been so strictly prohibited as they were, he was still involving himself in a difficulty from which he could not hope to extricate himself, agreed to the request, and Chalais had notice given to him to provide him an antagonist. The Marquis de Noirmoustier, his brother-in-law, who was to assist him, being acquainted, as I said before, with the affair which had taken place betwixt La Frette and myself, I occurred to his mind, and he sent for me; but luckily I had been engaged at play at a friend's house until it grew late; and although at Paris it is not very customary to sleep from home, yet as it was reported that robbers were then much abroad, I was prevailed on to take a bed with him; this circumstance saved me; and in this instance I was convinced, that fortune, who had long persecuted, was resolved not entirely to abandon me. The eight combatants were, La Frette, Ovarti, his brother, a lieutenant in the guards, the Chevalier de St. Agnan, the Marquis de Flammarin, the Prince de Chalais, the Marquis de Noirmoustier, the Marquis d'Antin, brother of Madame de Montespan, and the Viscomte d'Angelieu. The duel proved fatal only to the Marquis d'Antin, who was killed on the spot; but notwithstanding the rest escaped his fate, they were all severely wounded. The king's anger was excessive, particularly against the Chevalier de St. Agnan, who was, in fact, more blameable than all the rest. Their fate, however, was equal; their immediate object was to fly the kingdom disguised, the king having sent orders for their arrest to the seaports and confines of his dominions. Some of them went to Spain, others to Portugal, the remainder elsewhere, as best suited their views. But however desirable a residence in a foreign country may seem, it still savours of banishment, and each had full leisure to repent his folly. No one bestowed any pity on the Chevalier de St. Agnan, thinking he had come off much better than he deserved; neither did Messrs. de la Frette attract much compassion, having always evinced so quarrelsome a disposition, that they could not be better compared than to those horses of a vicious character, who will suffer no others in the same stable with themselves. Respecting the others, public opinion took a different turn: their misfortune was much pitied; and it was hoped it had been possible that the king would have relaxed of his severity towards them. In fact, they were all persons of worth, and deserved a better fate. But no person
durst mention it to the king; even the Duke de St. Agnan, who was a good deal about his person, was the first to tell his Majesty, that his son's misconduct was of a nature never to be pardoned; that if he were acquainted with his place of retreat, he should be the first to discover it, in order to bring him to justice; that he should not, therefore, trouble his Majesty with intercessions in his behalf, and believed that every one would incline to his way of thinking. This speech might be very appropriate in the mouth of a courtier, who was endeavouring to gain the favour of his prince by every possible means; but very ill becoming a parent, who, instead of blackening the transaction, should have felt it his duty to have represented it in as favourable a light as possible. The relations of Messrs. de la Frette acted differently; they did not dare themselves to speak to the king, but made use of every possible means to move his compassion. The Duchess de Chaulnes prevailed on her husband, who was ambassador at Rome, to mention it to the Pope, and however much the Holy Father might approve of the king's conduct in this affair, he, nevertheless, promised his assistance on this occasion; accordingly, a few years after, having occasion to send a legate to France, on different business, and of an import unnecessary to mention here, he was charged to speak to the king on that subject, and to say that he took an interest in it. The duchess could not have employed an agent whose recommendation would have turned out more efficacious; the Pope had it in his power to absolve the king from his oath, which was supposed to render him so rigid; but he made answer to the legate, that in every other circumstance he would joyfully oblige the Holy Father, but in this affair, he had so bound himself, that God only could discharge him from so solemn an oath. Not that he doubted the authority of the Holy See; but as the duty he owed to God required him to be a prince of his word, he firmly believed that the Pope himself would depart from the recommendation if he would but examine into its consequences."
Countess de la Suze.
This lady was the daughter of Gaspar de Coligni, marshal of France, and was celebrated in her time for her wit and her elegies. She was one of the few women with whom Christina, Queen of Sweden, condescended to become intimate. Though educated a Protestant, she embraced the Roman Catholic religion, less from a motive of devotion, than to have a pretence of parting from her husband, who was a Protestant, and for whom she had an invincible abhorrence; which occasioned the queen to say, "The Countess of Suze became a Catholic, that she might neither meet her husband in this world nor the next." -- See Lacombe's Life of Queen Christina. The countess died in 1673.
I find this person mentioned in Memoirs of the Court of France 8vo 1702, pt.ii. p. 42.
Talbot, who was afterwards created Duke of Tyrconnel.
Richard Talbot, the fifth son "of an Irish family, but of ancient English extraction, which had always inhabited within that circle that was called the Pale; which, being originally an English plantation, was, in so many hundred years, for the most part degenerated into the manners of the Irish, and rose and mingled with them in the late rebellion: and of this family there were two distinct families, who had competent estates, and lived in many descents in the rank of gentlemen of quality." Thus far Lord Clarendon; who adds, that Richard Talbot and his "brothers were all the sons, or the grandsons, of one who was a judge in Ireland, and esteemed a learned man." -- Continuation of Clarendon. Of the person now under consideration the same writer appears, and with great reason, to have entertained a very ill opinion. Dick Talbot, as he was called, "was brought into Flanders first by Daniel O'Neile, as one who was willing to assassinate Cromwell; and he made a journey into England with that resolution, not long before his death, and after it returned into Flanders, ready to do all that he should be required. He was a very handsome young man, wore good clothes, and was, without doubt, of a clear, ready courage, which was virtue enough to recommend a man to the duke's good opinion; which, with more expedition than could be expected, he got, to that degree, that he was made of his bedchamber; and from that qualification embarked himself, after the king's return, in the pretences of the Irish, with such an unusual confidence, and, upon private contracts, with such scandalous circumstances, that the chancellor had sometimes, at the council-table, been obliged to give him severe reprehensions, and often desired the duke to withdraw his countenance from him." -- Continuation of Clarendon. It is to be remembered that he was one of the men of honour already noticed. On King James's accession to the throne, he was created Earl of Tyrconnel, and placed, as lieutenant-general, at the head of the Irish army, where his conduct was so agreeable to his sovereign, that he was, in 1689, advanced to the dignity of Duke of Tyrconnel. He was afterwards employed by the king in Ireland, where his efforts were without effect. The Duke of Berwick says, "his stature was above the ordinary size. He had great experience of the world, having been early introduced into the best company, and possessed of an honourable employment in the household of the Duke of York; who, upon his succession to the crown, raised him to the dignity of an earl, and well knowing his zeal and attachment, made him soon after viceroy of Ireland. He was a man of very good sense, very obliging, but immoderately vain, and full of cunning. Though he had acquired great possessions, it could not be said that he had employed improper means; for he never appeared to have a passion for money. He had not a military genius, but much courage. After the Prince of Orange's invasion, his firmness preserved Ireland, and he nobly refused all the offers that were made to induce him to submit. From the time of the battle of the Boyne, he sank prodigiously, being become as irresolute in his mind as unwieldy in his person." -- Memoirs, vol. i. p. 94. [He is said to have
died suddenly by poison, administered in a cup of ratafia.] He died at Limerick, 5th August, 1691.
One of these brothers was almoner to the queen.
This was Peter Talbot, whose character is drawn by Lord Clarendon in terms not more favourable than those in which his brother is portrayed. -- See Continuation of Clarendon, p. 363.
-- -- the other was called a lay-monk.
Thomas Talbot, a Franciscan friar, of wit enough, says Lord Clarendon, but of notorious debauchery. More particulars of this man may be found in the same noble historian. -- See Continuation of Clarendon, p. 963.
-- -- which offended the Duke of Ormond.
A very exact account of this transaction is given Lord Clarendon, by which it appears that Talbot was committed to the Tower for threatening to assassinate the Duke of Ormond. -- Continuation of Clarendon, p. 362.
Charles, the third Lord Cornwallis, born in 1655. He married, December 27, 1673, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Sir Stephen Fox, knight, and afterwards, in 1688, the widow of the Duke of Monmouth. Lord Cornwallis died April 29, 1698.
Sir Stephen Fox.
This gentleman is said to have been of a genteel family, settled at Farley, in Wiltshire, and was the architect of his own fortune. Lord Clarendon says, in his History of the Rebellion, that he was entertained by Lord Percy, then lord-chamberlain of the king's household, at Paris, about the year 1652, and continued in his majesty's service until the Restoration. On that event he was made clerk of the green cloth, and afterwards paymaster-general of the forces in England. On the 1st July, 1665, he was knighted. In 1680, he was constituted one of the lords commissioners of the treasury. On the accession of James II. he was continued first clerk of the green cloth; and, in December, 1686, was again appointed one of the commissioners of the treasury. At the Revolution, he concurred in yoting the throne vacant; and, on 19th March, 1689, was a third time appointed to the treasury; which place he held until he retired from public business, in 1701. By his first lady he had se-en sons and three daughters; and by his second, whom he married in the
year 1703, when he was seventy-six years of age, he had two sons, who both afterwards became peers, -- Stephen, Earl of Ilchester, and Henry, Lord Holland, and two daughters. He died in the year 1716. at Chiswick, in his eighty-ninth year.
Lord Taafe, eldest son of the Earl of Carlingford.
Nicholas, the third Viscount Taafe, and second Earl of Carlingford. He was of the privy-council to King James II., and, in 1689, went as envoy to the Emperor Leopold. He lost his life the next year, 1st July, at the battle of the Boyne, commanding at that time a regiment of foot. This nobleman, although he succeeded his father in his title, was not his eldest son. King Charles appears to have had a great regard for the family. In a letter from Lord Arlington to Sir Richard Fanshaw, dated April 21, 1664, that nobleman says, "Colonel Luke Taafe (a brother of my Lord Carlingford's) hath served his Catholic majesty many years in the state of Milan, with a standing regiment there; which regiment he desires now to deliver over to Captain Nicholas Taafe, a younger son of my Lord Carlingford's. and the colonel's nephew, who is now a captain of the regiment: and his majesty commands me to recommend to your excellency the bringing this to pass, for the affection he hath to the family, and the merit of this young gentleman." -- Arlington's Letters, vol. ii. p. 21.
The Duke of Richmond.
Charles Stewart, Duke of Richmond and Lennox. He was afterwards sent ambassador to Denmark, and died at Elsineur, December 12, 1672. Burnet says, he "was sent to give a lustre to the negotiation, which was chiefly managed by Mr. Hensaw." -- History of his Own Times, vol. i. p. 425. [For particulars of his marriage with Miss Stewart, see note 169.]
Mademoiselle de la Garde,
Daughter of Charles Peliot, Lord de la Garde, whose eldest daughter married Sir Thomas Bond, comptroller of the household to the queen-mother. Sir Thomas Bond had a considerable estate at Peckham. and his second son married the niece of Jermyn, one of the heroes of these Memoirs. -- See Collin's Baronetage, vol. iii. p. 4. She became the wife of Sir Gabriel Silvius, and died 13th October, 1730.
Afterwards Sir Gabriel Silvius. In Chamberlayne's Angliæ Notitia, 1669, Gabriel de Sylvus is put down as one of the carvers to the queen, and Mrs. de Sylvus, one of the six chambriers or dressers to the queen.
He was afterwards knighted, and, 30th February, 1680, was sent ambassador to the Dukes of Brunswick and Lunenburgh. Lord Orford says, he was a native of Orange, and was attached to the princess-royal, afterwards to the Duke of York. He also says, he was sent ambassador to Denmark.
Edward Progers, Esq., was a younger son of Philip Progers, Esq., of the family of Garreddin, in Monmouthshire. His father was a colonel in the army, and equerry to James I. Edward was early introduced to court, and, after having been page to Charles I., was made groom of the bedchamber to his son, while Prince of Wales. He attached himself to the king's interest during the war with the parliament, with laudable fidelity. The following letter, from which antiquaries may derive the minute information that Charles II. did wear mourning for a whole year for his father, serves to shew the familiar style which Charles used to Progers, as well as his straitened circumstances while in the island of Jersey.
By a letter from Cowley to Henry Bennet, dated 18th November, 1650, Mr. Progers appears to have been then active in his master's service. -- Brown's Miscellanea Aulica, 1702, p. 153. In the lampoons of the times, particularly in those of Andrew Marvell, Mr. Progers is described as one devoted to assist his master's pleasures; for which reason, perhaps, he was banished from the king's presence in 1650, by an act of the estates of Scotland, "as an evil instrument and bad counsellor of the king." He is said to have obtained several grants to take effect upon the restoration; but it does not appear that they took effect. In 1660, he was named, says Lord Orford, one of the knights of the royal oak, an order the king then intended to institute. By the same authority we are informed that he had permission from the king to build a house in Bushy-park, near Hampton-court, on condition that, after his death, it should revert to the crown. This was the house inhabited by the late Earl of Hallifax. He represented the county of Brecon in parliament for seventeen years, but retired in 1679. On the death of his master, he retired from public life. Mr. Progers died, says Le Neve, "December 31st, or January 1st, 1713, aged ninety-six, of the anguish of cutting teeth, he having cut four new teeth and had several
ready to cut, which so inflamed his gums, that he died thereof." He was in low circumstances before his death, and applied to King James for relief, with what effect is not known. Mr. Progers had a family by his wife Elizabeth Wells; and the scandal-bearers of the time remarked, that his eldest daughter Philippa, afterwards Mrs. Croxel, bore a strong resemblance to Charles II. -- Monumenta Anglicana, 1717, p. 273.
"Progers, I wold have you (besides the embroidred sute) bring me a plaine riding suite, with an innocent coate, the suites I haue for horse-backe being so spotted and spoiled that they are not to be scene out of this island. The lining of the coate, and the petit toies are referred to your greate discretion, provided there want nothing when it comes to be put on. I doe not remember there was a belt, or a hat-band, in your directions for the embroiderd suite, and those are so necessarie as you must not forget them.
|"Jearsey, 14th Jan. old stile, 1649.
"For Mr. Progers."
The only notice of this person I have anywhere seen, is in the following extract of a letter from Sir Richard Fanshaw to Lord Arlington, dated 4th June, 1664. -- "I ought not, in justice to an honourable person, to conclude before I acquaint your honour, that I have this day seen a letter, whereby it is certified, from my Lord Dongon (now at Heres), that, if there were any ship in Cadiz bound for Tangier, he would go over in her, to do his majesty what service he could in that garrison; which, he saith, he fears wants good officers very much." -- Fanshaw's Letters, vol. i. p. 104.
Durfort afterwards Earl of Feversham.
Lewis de Duras, Earl of Feversham, a native of France, being son of the Duke de Duras, and brother to the last duke of that name, as also to the Duke de Lorge. His mother was sister to the great Turenne, of the princely house of Bouillon. After the Restoration he came to England, was naturalized, and behaved with great gallantry in the sea-fight with the Dutch, in 1665. When he first came to England, he bore the name of Durfort, and the title of Marquis of Blancfort. In the twenty-fourth Charles II. he was created Baron Duras of Holdenby, in the county of Northampton; and having married Mary, the eldest daughter and co-heir of Sir George Sondes, of Lees Court, in the county of Kent, who had been created Earl of Feversham, the same title was limited to him, and he succeeded to it on the death of his father-in-law. Besides these honours, King Charles preferred him to the command of the third troop of horse guards, afterwards promoted him to the second, and then to the first. In 1679, he was made master of the horse to Queen Katherine, and afterwards lord-chamberlain to her majesty. Upon King James's accession, he was admitted into the privy council, and was commander-in-chief of the forces sent against the Duke of Monmouth. After the Revolution, he continued lord-chamberlain to the queen-dowager, and master of the royal college of St. Katherine's, near the Tower. He died April 8th, 1709, aged sixty-eight, and was buried in the Savoy, in the Strand, London; but removed, March 21st, 1740, to Westminster-abbey.
Elizabeth, daughter of Hervey Bagot, second son of Sir Hervey Bagot. She married first Charles Berkley, Earl of Falmouth, and, after his death,
Charles Sackville, who became the first Duke of Dorset. From the pen of a satirist much dependence is not to be placed for the truth of facts. This lady's character is treated by Dryden and Mulgrave with very little respect, in the following lines, extracted from "The Essay on Satire:"
"Thus Dorset, purring like a thoughtful cat,
Married; but wiser puss ne'er thought of that:
And first he worried her with railing rhyme,
Like Pembroke's mastiffs at his kindest time;
Then for one night sold all his slavish life,
A teeming widow, but a barren wife;
Swell'd by contact of such a fulsome toad,
He lugg'd about the matrimonial load;
Till fortune, blindly kind as well as he,
Has ill restored him to his liberty;
Which he would use in his old sneaking way,
Drinking all night, and dosing all the day;
Dull as Ned Howard, whom his brisker times
Had famed for dulness in malicious rhymes."
This lady was one of the daughters and co-heirs of Richard Jennings, of Sundridge, in the county of Hertford, Esquire, and elder sister to the celebrated Duchess of Marlborough. Her name was Frances. She married George Hamilton, mentioned in these Memoirs; and after his death took to her second husband Richard Talbot, already mentioned, created Duke of Tyrconnel by James II., whose fortunes he followed. Lord Melfort, secretary to that prince, appears to have conceived no very favourable opinion of this lady; for in a letter to his master, dated October, 1689, he says, "There is one other thing, if it could be effectuated, were of infinite use; which is the getting the Duchess of Tyrconnel, for her health, to come into France. I did not know she had been so well known here as she is; but the terms they give her, and which, for your service, I may repeat unto you, is, that she has l'ame la plus noire qui se puisse concevoir. I think it would help to keep that peace so necessary for you, and prevent that caballing humour which has very ill effects." -- Macpherson's State Papers, vol. i. In 1699 she is mentioned in a letter from the Earl of Manchester to Lord Jersey, as one of the needy Jacobites of King James's court, to whom 3,000 crowns, part of that monarch's pension, had been distributed. -- Cole's State Papers, p. 53. In 1705 she was in England, and had an interview with her brother-in-law, the Duke of Marlborough, with whose family she seems not to have lived in any terms of cordiality.- -- Macpherson, vol. i.
[Respecting her sojourn in London, Horace Walpole relates the following singular anecdote. "At that time, part of the Royal Exchange was let out in small stalls or shops, perhaps something like a modern bazaar, and was a favourite and fashionable resort of women of the highest rank.
It is said that the Duchess of Tyrconnel, being reduced to absolute want on her arrival in England, and unable for some time to procure secret access to her family, hired one of the stalls under the Royal Exchange, and maintained herself by the sale of small articles of haberdashery. She wore a white dress wrapping her whole person, and a white mask, which she never removed, and excited much interest and curiosity." Mrs. Jameson adds, "She afterwards obtained the restoration of a small part of her husband's property, with permission to reside in Dublin. To that city, perhaps, endeared to her as the scene of past happiness, and power, and splendour, she returned in 1706, a widow, poor, proscribed, and broken-hearted. While her high-spirited sister, the Duchess of Marlborough, was ruling the councils of England, or playing a desperate and contemptible game for power, the Duchess of Tyrconnel withdrew from the world: she established on the site of her husband's house, in King Street, a nunnery of the order of Poor Clares, and she passed in retreat, and the practice of the most austere devotion, the rest of her varied life. Her death was miserable: one cold wintry night, during an intense frost, she fell out of her bed; and being too feeble to rise or call for assistance, she was discovered next morning lying on the floor in a state of insensibility. It was found impossible to restore warmth or motion to her frozen limbs; and after lingering a few hours in a half lethargic state, she gradually sank into death. She expired on the 29th of February, 1730, in her eighty-second year: and on the 9th of March following, she was interred in the cathedral church of St. Patrick."]
Anne, daughter of Thomas Temple, of Frankton, in the county of Warwick, by Rebecca, daughter of Sir Nicholas Carew, of Beddington, in Surrey, Knight. She afterwards became the second wife of Sir Charles Lyttelton, by whom she had five sons and eight daughters. She was grandmother of the celebrated Lord Lyttelton; and died 27th August, 1718. Her husband, Sir Charles Lyttelton, lived to the advanced age of eighty-six years; and died at Hagley, May 2nd, 1716.
This town is in the neighbourhood of Sundridge, where Miss Jennings' family resided.
The Earl of Oxford
This was Aubery de Vere, the last Earl of Oxford of that name, and the twentieth and last earl of that family. He was chief justice in eyre; and in the reign of Charles II. lord of the bedchamber, privy counsellor, colonel of the royal regiment of horse guards, and lord-lieutenant of the county of Essex; and lieutenant-general of the forces in the reign of
William III., and also knight of the garter. He died March 12th, 1702, aged eighty years and upwards, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. The author of a History of the English Stage, published by Curl, 1741, 8vo., says, that Mrs. Marshall, a celebrated actress, more known by the name of Roxana, from acting that part, was the person deceived by the Earl of Oxford in this manner. [Evelyn says, Jan. 9th:-- "I saw acted 'The Third Part of the Siege of Rhodes.' In this acted the fair and famous comedian, called Roxalana, from the part she performed; and I think it was the last, she being taken to be the Earl of Oxford's Misse (as at this time they began to call lewd women). It was in recitative music."] The particulars of the story, as there related, do not materially vary from the present account of the transaction. A more detailed narrative of this seduction is given in Madam Dunois's Memoirs of the Court of England, pt. 2, p. 71. Mrs. Marshall, who was the original Roxana in Lee's Rival Queens, belonged not to the duke's, but the king's theatre. Lord Orford, I know not on what authority, has given the name of Mrs. Barker to this lady; a name totally unknown, I believe, in the annals of the stage.
Memoirs of Count Grammont