for scanty bread."
Government could not be expected to look too
closely into these matters, Edmund thought. All
governments were more or less extravagant ; and
lie supposed they always would be.
" Because they live by the toil of others ? If
so, there is a remedy in making the government
" I would fain see it," cried Mrs. Reede. u I
would fain seethe King unravelling his perplexed
accounts ; and the Duke bestirring himself among
42 SECOND AGE.
the ships and in the army, instead of taking the
credit of what better men do ; and the court ladies
ordering their houses discreetly, while their hus-
bands made ready to show what service they had
done the nation. Then, my dear, you would
preach to a modest, and sober, and thankful
people, who, with one heart, would be ready to
" It is but too far otherwise now," replied Dr.
Reede. " Of my hearers, some harden their
hearts in unchristian contempt of all that is not
as sad as their own spirits ; and others look to
see that the cloak hangs from the shoulder in a
comely fashion as they stand. At the same time,
there is more need of the word the more men's
minds are divided. This is the age when virtue
is oppressed, and the selfish make mirth. Of
those that pray for the King's Majesty, how
many have given him their children's bread, and
mourn and pine, while the gay whom they feed
have no thought for their misery ! Edmund him-
self allows that the shipwrights go home without
their wages, while he who works scarce at all
disports himself with his bombazin suit and scar-
let ribbons. Can I preach to them as effectually
as if they were content, and he "
" What?"' inquired Edmund.
11 In truth, Edmund, I could less find in my
heart to admonish these defrauded men for steal-
ing bread from the navy-stores for their hungry
children, than you for drawing their envious eyes
upon you. The large money that pays your
small service, whose is it but theirs, â€” earned
SECOND AGT^. 43
hardly, paid willingly to the King, to be spent in
periwigs and silk hose? Shall men who thus
injure and feel injury in their worldly labour, lis-
ten with one heart and mind to the Sabbath word?
Too well I know that, from end to end of this
kingdom, there is one tumult of bad passions
which set the Scriptures at nought. The lion
devours the lamb ; the innocent know too well the
sting of the asp ; and as often as a fleece appears,
men spy for the wolf beneath it. What chance
hath the word when it falls upon ground so en-
Edmund pleaded'that, though he had done little
yet to merit his public salary, he meant to do a
great deal. This very day, the King had ap-
pointed some confidential person to confer with
him on an affair in which his exertions would be
required. Things had come to such a pass now
in the management of the army and navy, that
something must be done to satisfy the people ;
and Edmund hoped, that if he put on the appear-
ance of a rising young man, he might soon prove
to be so, and gain honour in proportion to the
profit he was already taking by anticipation.
It must be something very pressing that was
wanted of Edmund, if no day would serve but
that of this solemn fast. It did not occur to the
Reedes that it must be a day of ennui to Charles
and his court, at any rate, and that there would
be an economy of mirth in transacting at such a
time business which must be done.
There was a something in Edmund's counte-
nance and gait as he went to worship this morn-
44 SECOND AGF.
ing which made his sister fear that, during the
service, he must be thinking more of the expected
interview at the palace than of her husband's
eloquent exposition of how the sins of the govern-
ment were the sins of the nation, and how both
merited the chastisement which it was the object
of this day's penitence to avert. The sermon was
a bold one ; but the nation was growing bold
under a sense of injury, and of the inconsistency
of the government. The time was past when
plain speakers could be sent off to the wars, for
the purpose of being impoverished, made captive,
or slain. Dr. lleede knew, and bore in mind,
the fate of a certain ancestor of his, and returned
thanks in his heart for such an advance in the
recognition of social rights as allowed him to be
as honest as his forefathers, with greater impu-
nity. He resolved now to do a bolder thing than
he had ever yet meditated, â€” to take advantage of
Edmund's going to the palace to endeavour to
obtain an interview with the King, and intercede
for the Presbyterian clergy, who must, in a few
days, vacate their livings, or violate their con-
sciences, unless Charles should be pleased to re-
member, before it was too late, that he had passed
his royal word in their favour. Charles was not
difficult of access, particularly on a fast-day ; the
experiment was worth trying.
The streets were dull and empty as the brothers
proceeded to the river-side to take boat for the
palace. There was a little more bustle by the
stairs whence they meant to embark, the water-
men having had abundance of time this day to
SECOND AGE. 45
drink and quarrel. The contention for the pre-
sent God-send of passengers would have run high,
if Edmund had not known how to put on the
manner of a personage of great importance ; a
manner which he sincerely thought himself en-
titled to assume, it being a mighty pleasure, as
he declared to his companion, to feel himself a
greater man in the world than he could once
have expected for himself, or any of his friends
for him. He felt as if he was lord of the Thames,
while, with his arms folded in his cloak, and his
beaver nicely poised, he looked abroad, and saw
not another vessel in motion on the surface of
the broad river.
This solitude did not last very long. Dr.
Eeede had not finished contemplating the distant
church of St. Paul's, which Wren, the artist, had
been engaged to repair. He was speculating on
the probable effect of a cupola (a strange form
described, but not yet witnessed, in England) ;
lie was wondering what induced Oliver to take
the choir for horse- barracks, when so many other
buildings in the neighbourhood might have served
the purpose better ; he was inwardly congratu-
lating his accomplished young friend on his noble
task of restoring, â€” not only to beauty, that which
was dilapidated, â€” but to sanctity that which was
desecrated. Dr. Reede was thinking of these
things, rather than listening to the watermen's
account of a singular new vessel, called a yacht,
which the Dutch East India Company had pre-
sented to the King, when a barge was perceived
to be coming up the river with so much haste as
46 SECOND AGE.
to excite Edmund's attention and stop the boat-
" It is Palmer, bringing news, I am sure, â€”
what mighty haste!" observed Edmund, turning
to order the boatmen to make for the barge.
" News from sea, â€” mighty good or bad, I am
certain. We will catch them on their way."
" Palmer, the King's messenger! He will not
tell his news to us, Edmund."
" He will, knowing me, and finding where I
Palmer did tell his news. His Majesty had
sustained a signal defeat abroad. The doubt was
where to find the King or the Duke, there beinÂ«-
a rumour that they were somewhere on the river.
Palmer had witnessed a sailing-match between
two royal boats, some way below Greenwich, but
he could not make out that any royal personages
were on board.
" Here they are, if they be on the river !"
exclaimed Edmund, inquiring of the watermen
if the extraordinary vessel just cominsr in siiiht
was not the yacht thev had described. It was,
and the King must be on board, as no one else
would dream of taking pleasure on the river this
Edmund managed so well to put himself in the
way of being observed while Palmer made his
inquiries, that both were summoned on board the
yacht. The clergyman looked so unlike anybody
that the lords and gentlemen within had commonly
to do with, that he was not allowed to remain
behind. They seemed to have some curiosity to
SECOND AGE. 47
see whether a presbyterian parson could eat like
other men, for they pressed him to sit down to
table with them, â€” a table steaming with the good
meats which had been furnished from the kitchen-
boat which always followed in the rear of the
yacht. Dr. Reede simply observed that it was a
fast day ; and could not be made to perceive that
being on the water and in high company absolved
him from the observances of the day. Every
body else seemed of a different opinion ; for, not
content with the usual regale of fine music which
attended the royal excursions, the lords and
gentlemen present had made the fiddlers drunk,
and set them in that state to sing all the foul
songs with which their professional memories
could furnish them. Abundance of punch was
preparing, and there was some Canary of incom-
parable goodness which had been earned to and
from the Indies. Two of the company were too
deeply interested in what they were about to care
for either music or Canary at the moment.
Charles and the Duke of Ormond were rattling
the dice-box, having staked 1000/. on the cast.
It was of some consequence to the King to win
it, as he had, since morning, lost 23,000/. in bets
with the Duke of York and others about the
sailing match which they had carried on while
the rest of the nation were at church, deprecating
Having lost his 1000/., he turned gaily to the
strangers, as if expecting some new amusement
from them. He made a sign to Edmund (whom
he knew in virtue of his office), that he would
48 'second age.
hold discourse with him presently in private, and
then asked Dr. Reede what the clergy had dis-
covered of the reasons for the heavy judgment
with which the kingdom was afflicted.
Dr. Reede believed the clergy were more
anxious to obtain God's mercy than to account
for his judgments.
" You are deceived, friend. Our reverend
dean of Windsor has been preaching that it is our
supineness in leaving the heads of the regicides
on their shoulders that has brought these visita-
tions on our people. He discoursed largely of
the matter of the Gibeonites, and exhorted us to
Dr. Reede could not remember any text which
taught that wreaking vengeance on man was the
way to propitiate God. He could not suppose
that this disastrous defeat abroad would have been
averted by butchering the regicides in celebration
of the King's marriage, as had been proposed.
The King had not yet had time to comprehend
the news of this defeat. On hearing of it, he
seemed in a transient state of consternation ;
marvelled, as his subjects were wont to do, what
was to become of the kingdom at this rate ; and
signified his wish to be left with the messenger,
the Duke of York alone remaining to help him
to collect all the particulars. The company
accordingly withdrew to curse the enemy, wonder
who was killed and who wounded, and straight-
way amuse themselves, the ladies with the dice-
box, the gentlemen with betting on their play,
and all with the feats of a juggler of rare ac-
SECOND AGE. 49
complishments, who was at present under the
patronage of one of the King's favourites.
When Palmer had told his story and was
dismissed, Edmund was called in, and, at his own
request, was attended by his brother-in-law, â€” the
discreet gentleman of excellent learning, who
might aid the project to be now discoursed of.
The King did, at length, look grave. He sup-
posed Edmund knew the purpose for which his
presence was required.
"To receive his Highness the Duke's pleasure
respecting the navy accounts that are to bo laid
" That is my brother's affair," replied the
King. " I desire from you, â€” your parts having
been well commended to me, â€” -'some discreet
composure which shall bring our government into
less disfavour with our people than it hath been
Edmund did not doubt that this could casilv be
41 It must be done; for in our present straits
we cannot altogether so do without the people as
for our ease we could desire. But as for the
ease, â€” there is but little of it where the people
are so changeable. Thev have fonrot the flat-
teries with which thev hailed us, some short while
since, and give us only murmurs instead. Jt is
much to be wished that they should be satisfied
in respect of their duty to us, without which we
cannct satisfv them in the carrving on of the
The Duke of York thought that his Majesty
50 SECOND AGE.
troubled himself needlessly ahout the way in
which supplies were to be obtained from the
people. Money must be had, and speedily, or
defeat would follow defeat ; for never were the
army and navy in a more wretched condition than
now. But if his Majesty would only exert his
prerogative, and levy supplies for his occasions as
his ancestors had done, all might yet be retrieved
without the trouble of propitiating the nation.
The King persisted however in his design of
making his government popular by means of a
pamphlet which should flatter the people with the
notion that they kept their affairs in their own
hands. It was the shortest way to begin by
satisfying the people's minus.
And how was this to be done? Dr. Reede
presumed to inquire. Charles, thoroughly dis-
composed by the news he had just heard, in
addition to a variety of private perplexities,
declared that nothing could be easier than to set
forth a true account of the roval poverty. No
poor gentleman of all the train to whom he was
in debt could be more completely at his wit's end
for money than he. His wardrobeman had this
morning lamented that the King had no hand-
kerchiefs, and only three bands to his neck ; and
how to take up a yard of linen for his Majety's
service was more than any one knew.
Edmund glanced at his own periwig in the
opposite mirror, and observed that it would be
very easy to urge this plea, if such was his
" Od's fish! man, you would not tell this
SECOND AGE. 51
beggarly tale in all its particulars ! You would
not set the loyal housewives in London to offer
me their patronage of shirts and neckbands !"
"Besides," said the Duke, "though it might
be very easy to tell the tale of our poverty, it
mio-ht not be so easv to make men believe it."
Dr. Reede here giving an involuntary sign of
assent, the King would know what was in his
mind. Dr. Reede, as usual, spoke his thoughts.
The people, being aware what sums had within a
few months fallen into the royal treasury, would
be slow to suppose that their king was in want
of necessary clothing.
"What! the present to the Queen from the
Lord Mayor and Aldermen ? That was but a
paltry thousand pounds."
Dr. Reede could not let it be supposed that
any one expected the King to benefit by gifts to
Charles looked up hastily to see if this was
intended as a reproach, for he had indeed appro-
priated every thing that he could lay his hands on
of what his dutiful subjects had offered to his
Queen, as a compliment on her marriage. The
clergyman looked innocent, and the King went
" And as for her portion, â€” twenty such portions
would not furnish forth one war, as the people
ought to know. And there is my sister's portion
to the Prince of Orleans soon to be paid. If the
people did but take the view we would have them
take of our affairs at home and abroad, we should
52 SECOND AGE.
not have to borrow of France, and want courage
to tell our faithful subjects that we had done so."
Edmund would do his best to give them the
desired opinions. Dr. Reede thought it a pity
they could not be by the King's side, â€” aye, now
on board this very boat, to understand and share
the King's views, and thus justify the government.
As a burst of admiration at some of the juggler's
tricks made itself heard in the cabin at the very
moment this was said, the King again looked up
to see whether satire was intended.
Edmund supposed that one object of his pro-
jected pamphlet was to communicate gently the
fact of a secret loan of 200,000 crowns from
France, designed for the support of the war in
Portugal, but so immediately swallowed up at
home that it appeared to have answered no more
purpose than a loan of so many pebbles, while it
had subjected the nation to a degradation which
the people would not have voluntarily incurred.
This communication was indeed to be a part of
Edmund's task ; but there was a more important
one still to be made. It could not now long
remain a secret that Dunkirk was in the hands of
" Dunkirk taken by the French V exclaimed
Dr. Reede, not crediting what he heard. " We
are lost indeed, if the French make aggressions
" Patience, brother!" whispered Edmund.
" There is no agression in the case. The matter
is arranged by mutual agreement.'
SECOND AGE. 53
Dr. Reede looked perplexed, till the Duke
carelessly told him that Dunkirk had been sold
to the French King. It was a pity the nation
must know the fact. They would not like it.
" Like it ! Dunkirk sold ! Whose property was
Dunkirk ?" asked Dr. Reede, reverting to the
time when Oliver's acquisition of Dunkirk was
celebrated as a national triumph.
44 We must conduct the bargains of the nation,
you know," replied the Duke. : ' In old times, the
people desired no better managers of their affairs
than their kings."
" Tis a marvel then that they troubled them-
selves to have Parliaments. Pray God the people
may be content with what they shall receive for a
conquest which they prized ! Some other goodly
town, I trust, is secured to us ; or some profitable
fishing coast ; or some fastness which shall give
us advantage over the enemy, and spare the blood
of our soldiers."
" It were as well to have retained Dunkirk as
taken any of these in exchange," said the King ; â€”
a proposition which Dr. Reede was far from
disputing. " Our necessities required another
fashion of payment."
11 In money ! â€” and then the taxes will be some-
what lightened. This will be a welcome relief to
the people, although their leave was not asked.
There is at least the good of a lifting up of a little
portion of their burdens."
" Not so. AVe cannot at present spare our
subjects. This 400,000/. come from Dunkirk is
all too little for the occasions of our dignity.
54 SECOND AGE.
Our house at Hampton Court is not yet suitably
arranged. The tapestries are such that the world
can show nothing nobler, yet the ceilings, how-
ever finelv fretted, are not vet gilt. The canal is
not perfected, and the Banqueting House in the
Paradise is vet bare."
"The extraordinary wild fowl in St. James's
Park did not fly over without cost," observed the
" Some did. The melancholv water-fowl from
Astracan was bestowed by the Russian Ambas-
sador ; and certain merchants who came for
justice brought us the cranes and the milk-white
raven. But the animals that it was needful to
put in to make the place answerable to its design,
â€” the antelopes, and the Guinea goats, and the
Arabian sheep, and others, â€” cost nearly their
weight of gold. Kings cannot make /air bar-
" For aught but necessaries,'' interposed the
" Or for necessaries. Windsor is exceedingly
ragged and ruinous. It will occupy the cost of
Dunkirk to restore it "
" According to the taste of the ladies of the
court," interrupted the Duke. " They will have
the gallery of horns furnished with beams of the
rarest elks and antelopes that there be in the
world. Then the hall and stairs must be bright
with furniture of arms, in festoons, trophy-like :
while the chambers have curious and effeminate
pictures, giving a contrast of softness to that
which presented only war and horror."
SECOND AGE. 55
" Then there is the demolishing of the palace
at Greenwich, in order to building a new one.
Besides the cost of rearing, we are advised so to
make a cut as to let in the Thames like a square
bay, which will be chargeable."
" And this is to be ordered by Parliament ?
or are the people to be told that a foreign pos-
session of theirs is gone to pay for water- fowl and
effeminate pictures ?"
" Then there is the army," continued the King.
"I have daily news of a lack of hospitals, so that
our maimed soldiers die of the injuries of the air.
And this very defeat, with which the cilv will
presently be ringing, was caused by the failure
of ammunition. And not unknowingly ; fortius
vounof clerk had the audacity to forewarn us."
" Better have sold the troops and their general
alive into the hands of the enemy, than send
them into the field without a sufficiency of
defence," cried Dr. Reede.
"So his Majesty thinks," observed the Duke ;
" and has therefore done wisely in taking a goodly
sum from the Dutch to delay the sailing of the
fleet for the east till the season is too far gone for
action. Nay ! is it not a benefit for the King to
have the money he so much needs, and for the
lives to be saved which must be otherwise lost
for want of the due ammunition ?"
Dr. Reede was too much affected at this gross
bartering away of the national honour to trust
himself to speak ; Edmund observed that he
should insist, in his pamphlet, on the exceeding
expensiveness of war in these days, in comparison
56 SECOND AGE.
of the times when men went out, each with his
how and arrow, or his battle-axe, and his pro-
vision of food furnished at his own charge.
Since gunpowder had been used, and engines of
curious workmanship, â€” since war had become a
science, it had grown mightily expensive, and the
people must pay accordingly, as he should
speedily set forth.
" Setting forth also how the people should
therefore be the more consulted, before a strife
is entered upon," said the clergyman.
41 Nay," [said the Duke, "I am for making
the matter short and easy. An expensive army
we must have ; and a troublesome Parliament to
boot is too much. I am for getting up the army
into an honourable condition, and letting down
the Parliament. His Majesty will be persuaded
thereto in time, when he has had another taste
of the discontents of his changeable people."
Dr. Reede imagined that such an innovation
might not be the last change, if the nation should
have more liking to be represented by a Parlia-
ment than ruled by an army. But the Duke did
not conceal his contempt for the new fashion of
regarding the people and their representatives.
There was no telling what pass things might
come to when monarchs were reduced to shifts
to get money, and the people fancied that they
had a right to sit in judgment on the use that
was made of it. He seemed to forget that he
had had a father, and what had become of him,
while he set up as an example worthy of all imi-
tation the spirited old king, bluff Harry, that put
SECOND AGE. 57
out his band and took what he pleased, and
amused himself with sending grumblers to seek
adventures north, south, east, or west. If the
King would take his advice, he would show the
nation an example of the first duty of a king, â€”
to protect his people from violence, â€” in such a
fashion as should leave the Parliament little to
say, even if allowed to meet. Let his Majesty
bestow all his paternal care on cherishing his
" It is true," said Dr. Reede, " that a ruler's
first duty is to give security to his people ; and
in the lowest state in which men herd together,
the danger is looked for from without ; and the
people who at home gather food, each for himself,
go out to war, each with his own weapon. Their
ruler does no more than call them out, and point
the way, and lead them home. Afterwards, when
men are settled on lands, and made the property
of the rich and strong, they go out to war at the
charge of their lords, and the King has still
nothing to do but to command them. Every
man is or may be a warrior ; and it is for those
who furnish forth his blood and sinews, his weapons
and his food, to decide about the conduct of the
war. But, at a later time, when men intermingle
and divide their labour at will, and the time of
slavery is over, every man is no longer a warrior,
but some fight for hire, while those who hire them
stay at their business at home."
" Or at their pleasures," observed the Duke,
glancing at his brother.
" Under favour, no," replied Dr. Reede. " It
5S SECOND AGE.
is not, I conceive, the King that hires the army
to do his pleasure, hut the people who hire it for
their defence, the King having the conduct of the