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observed to abate its fury; and by blowing up the houses in other parts of the town, and thus cutting off the communication, it was subdued and wholly extinguished on Thursday, the 6th of September.

Notwithstanding the extent of this conflagration, only six persons perished ; but the destruction of churches, halls of companies, and other publie buildings, and the houses of the inhabitants was immense. More than 400 streets and 13,000 houses were burned down. The property of all kinds destroyed by the fire was estimated at £7,385,000. Dreadful as this calamity was at the time to the inhabitants, it was productive of consequences which made ample amends for the losses sustained by individuals. Before the fire the streets were narrow, built chiefty of wood, and leaving little room for a free circulation of air, the metropolis was unhealthy, generally visited by the plague twice or thrice every century; a calamity which ceased after the fire.*

Kings of England. p. 158.

*"I saw," writes Evelyn, “the whole south part of the city burning from Cheapside to the Thames, and all along Cornhill (for it likewise kindled back against the wind, as well as forward), Tower-street, Fenchurch-street, Gracious (Gracechurch) street, and so along to Baynard's castle, and was taking hold of St. Paul's church, to which the scaffolds contributed exceedingly. The conflagration was so universal, and the people so astonished, that from the beginning, I know not by what despondency or fate, they hardly stirred to quench it ; so that there was nothing heard or seen but crying out and lamentation ; running about like distracted creatures, without at all attempting to save even their own goods ; such a strange consternation was there upon them, so as it burned, both in breadth and length, the churches, public halls, exchanges, hospitals, monuments, and ornaments, leaping after a prodigious manner from house to house, and street to street, at a great distance from one to the other; for the heat, with a long set of fair and warın weather had even ignited the air, and prepared the materials to conceive the fire, which devoured, after an incredible manner, houses, furniture, and everything. Here we saw the Thames covered with goods floating, all the barges and boats laden with what some had time and courage to save : as on the other, the carts, &c., carrying out to the fields, which for many miles were strewed with moveables of all sorts, and tents erecting to shelter both people and what goods they could get away. Oh! the miserable and calamitous spectacle! such as haply the world had not seen the like since the foundation of it, nor to be outdone till the universal confiagration of it. All the sky was of a fiery aspect, like the top of a burning oven, and the light seen for above forty miles round about for many nights. God grant mine eyes may never see the like! who now saw above ten thousand houses all in one fume; the noise and crackling and thunder of the impetuous flames, the shrieking of women and children, the hurry of people, the fall of towers, houses, and churches, was like a hideous storm, and the air all about so hot and infiamed that at last one was not able to approach it; so that they were forced to stand still and let the flames burn on, which they did for near two miles in length and one in breadth."

Erelyn's Diary. Few believed this dreadful fire to have been accidental, and many circumstances concurred to support a contrary opinion. Some believed that the republicans were the authors of this terrible calamity; but the most universal idea was, that the city was fired by the papists; and they were accused of the crime in the inscription upon the monument, which was erected near London-bridge in commemoration of the ire. James II. caused the inscription to be expunged, but after the revolution it was restored. Of late years it has been again defaced. The inscription was as follows:-“ T'he burning of this Protesta city was begun and carried on by the treachery and malice of the popish faction, in order to the effecting their horrid plot for the extirpating the Protestant religion and English liburties, and to introduce popery and heresy.

Spencer, p. 486. B


NELL GWYN. Of the early part of Nell's life little is known but what may be collected from the lampoons of the time, in which it is said tha: she was born in a night-cellar, sold fish about the streets, rambled from tavern to tavern, entertaining the company after dinner and supper with songs (her voice being very agreeable), and was after. wards admitted into the theatre. Other accounts say she was born in a cellar in the coal-yard in Drury-lane, and that she was first taken notice of when selling oranges in the play-house. She belonged to the king's company in Drury-lane, and according to Downes, was received as an actress a few years after that house opened in 1663. The first notice that is found of her is in the year 1668, when she performed in Dryden's play of Secret Love, after which she may be traced every year until 1672, when it is conjectured she quitted the stage. Bishop Burnet speaks of her in these terms— Gwyn, the indiscreetest and wildest creature that ever was at court, continued to the end of the king's life in great favour, and was maintained at a great expense. The Duke of Buckingham told me, that when she was first brought to the king she asked only £500 a year, and the king refused it. But when he told me this about four years after, he said she had got of the king above sixty thousand pounds." Pennant says she resided at her house in what was then called Pall-mall; it is the first good one on the left hand of St. James's-square, as we enter from Pall-mall. The back room on the ground floor was (within memory) entirely of looking glass, as was said to have been the ceiling. Over the chimney was her picture, and that of her sister was in a third room. Ať this house she died, in the year 1691, and was pompously interred in the parish church of St. Martin's. in-the-fields; Dr. Tennison, then vicar, and afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, preaching her funeral sermon. This sermon was shortly afterwards brought forward at court by Lord Jersey, to impede the doctor's preferment; but Queen Mary having heard the objection, answered, "What then?" in a sort of discomposure to which she was but little subject; “I have heard as much; this is a sign that that poor unfortunate woman died penitent; for, if I can read a man's heart through his looks, had not she made a pious and Christian end, the doctor could never have been in. duced to speak well of her." Charles loved her to the last: “Let not poor Nelly starve” were his dying words. She is most justly remembered for her exertions in behalf of Chelsea Hospital, which would never have been commenced but for her persevering and benevolent enthusiasm.*

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Note to Memoirs of Count Grammont, p. 411.

* The portraits of Nell Gwyn, and the other equally renowned “Court BEAUTIES,” by Sir Peter Lely and Sir Godfrey Kneller, at Hampton Court, show us the “witching loveliness”

vhich ruled the gay monarch, and lost him the respect and confidence of his people; while the ribald rhymes of Rochester und Etheridge, the memoirs of De Grammont, the diaries of the gossipping Pepys, and the more accomplished and polished Evelyn, reveal to us their character and adventures.


DEATH OF CHARLES II. All this winter the king looked better than he had done for many years. He had a humour in his leg which looked like the beginning of the gout, so that for some weeks he could not walk, as he used to do generally, three or four hours in the park, which he did commonly so fast, that while it afforded a real exercise to himself, it was with some difficulty his attendants could keep up with him. In the state the king was in, not being able to walk, he spent much time in his laboratory, and was running a process for the fixing of mercury. On the 1st of February, being Sunday, he eat little all day, and came to Lady Portsmouth, his favourite mistress, at night, and called for a porringer of spoon meat. Being made too strong for his stomach, he eat little, and had a restless night; in the morning his physician, Dr. King, came to wait upon him, but his discourse was so incoherent that he could not understand what he meant. The doctor concluded he was under some great disorder of either body or mind, and being alarmed went out, and meeting with Lord Peterborough, told him the king was in a strange humour, for he did not speak a word of sense. Lord Peterborough desired he would go in again to the bedchamber, and he did, and he was scarce come in when the king, who seemed all the while in great confusion, fell down in a fit like apoplexy; he looked black, his eyes turned in his head. He was immediately let blood, which brought him out of that fit, but apprehending another, he was looked upon as a dead man. The Bishop of London enjoined him to prepare for whatever might be before him ; to which the king made no reply. This was imputed to the bishop's cool way of speaking, and the ill opinion they had of him at court. Sancroft made a very weigħty exhortation, in which he used a good deal of freedom, saying it was necessary, since the king was going to be judged by one who was no respecter of persons. To him the king made no answer neither; nor yet to Ken, though the most in favour with him of all the bishops. The reverend prelates were very much perplexed, attributed his silence to insensibility; especially since Lady Portsmouth sat in the bed, taking care of him as a wife of a husband. The real cause, however, was soon discovered ; for it appeared that the king had determined to die a Papist, though

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The “merry days of Charles the Second” have furnished materials for more romances, novels, plays, and songs, than any other period of our history; indeed, so hackneyed has the subject become of late, that like of Venice and its gondoliers, there is nothing more to be written; it is therefore to be hoped that for some years at least no one will attempt another drama, novel, song, or picture, wherein the flowing periwigs, point-lace cravats, velvet coats, and masquerading frolics of “Old Rowley,” Buckingham, Rochester, Killegrew, or Nell Gwyn, are the distinguishing features. Mr. Douglas Jerrold has gathered all “ the primroses” that bloomed round the “pretty Nell,” and Mr. Planché, in his elegant little comedy of “ The COURT BEAUTIES, has given such faithful portraits of the pleasure-loving monarch, his gay court, and his "peerless beauties,” “ in their habits as they lived,” combined with such brilliant examples of the language, ihc wit, and the manners of the time, that perfection can proceed no further.

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he had lived all his life either in the profession of Deism, or the Protestant faith.

On Thursday the king had another fit, and the physicians told the Duke of York, his brother and successor, that his majesty was not likely to live another day. On this the duke ordered Huddleston, the priest that had mainly contributed to the saving of Charles at Worcester, to be brought to the lodgings under the bed-chamber. When Huddleston was told what was to be done he was in great confusion, for he had not brought the host. He went, however, to another priest, who lived in the court, who gave him the pix with an host in it. Everything being prepared, the duke whispered the king in the ear; upon that the king ordered that all who were in the bed-chamber should withdraw, except the Earls of Bath and Feversham; and the door was double locked. The company was kept out half an hour; only Lord Feversham opened the door once, and called for a glass of water. Cardinal Howard told Bishop Burnet, that, in the absence of the company, Huddleston, according to the account he sent to Rome, made the king go through some acts of contrition, and after obtaining such a confession as he was then able to give, he gave him absolution. The consecrated wafer stuck in the king's throat, and that was the reason of calling for a glass of water. Charles told Huddleston that he had saved him twice, first his body, then his soul. When the company were admitted they found the king had undergone a marvellous alteration, and the bishops, knowing the infamous life he had led, were quite amazed to observe the calmness and constancy with which he waited for death. The Papists having finished their part, another course of experiments were attempted by the Protestant bishops. Ken applied himself vigorously to the awaking the king's conseience. He spoke with great elevation both of thought and expression, like a man inspired. He resumed the matter often, and pronounced many short ejaculations and prayers, which affected all present, except the party most concerned, who seemed to take no notice of him, and returned no answer. He pressed the king six or seven times to receive the sacrament; but the king always de. clined it, saying he was very weak. A table with the elements upon it, ready to be consecrated, was brought into the room, and Ken earnestly pressed the king to declare that he desired it, and that he died in the communion of the Church of England. To that he answered nothing. Ken asked him if he desired absolution of his sins. Charles thought this could do him no hurt, so Ken pronounced it over him, for which he was blamed, since the king expressed no sense of sorrow for his past life, nor any purpose of amendment. Ken was also censured for another piece of effrontery: he presented the Duke of Richmond, Lady Portsmouth's son, to be blessed by the dying king. Upon this some that were in the room cried out that the king was their common father; and upon that all knelt down for his blessing, which he gave them. The king suffered much inwardly, and said he was burnt up

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The queen


within, of which he complained often, but with great decency. He said once that he hoped he should climb up to heaven's gates, which was the only word savoring of religion that he uttered.

Burnet's History of his own T'ime, vol. ii., p. 284. During the night Charles earnestly recommended the Duchess of Portsmouth and her boy to the care of James ; “ And do not,' he good naturedly added, “let poor Nelly starve." sent excuses for her absence by Halifax; she said she was too much disordered to resume her post by the couch, and implored pardon for any offence which she might unwittingly have given. * She ask my pardon, poor woman !” cried Charles ; “I ask her's with all my heart."

The morning light began to peep through the windows of Whitehall, and Charles desired the attendants to pull aside the curtains, that he might once more look at the day. He remarked that it was time to wind up a clock which stood near his bed. These little circumstances were long remembered, because they proved beyond dispute that, when he declared himself a Roman Catholic, he was in full possession of his faculties. He apologised to those who stood round him all night for the trouble which he had caused. He had been, he said, a most unconscionable time dying, but he hoped they would excuse it. This was the last glimpse of that exquisite urbanity so often found potent to charm away the resentment of a justly incensed nation. Soon after dawn the speech of the dying man failed. Before ten his senses were gone. Great numbers had repaired to the churches at the hour of morning service. When the prayer for the king was read, loud groans and sobs showed how deeply his people felt for him. At noon, on Friday, the 6th February, 1685, he passed away without a struggle.

Macaulay's England, vol. i., p. 436. PERSON AND CHARACTER. He was tall and swarthy, having a countenance marked with strong harsh lineaments, and in his manners gay, sprightly, polite, and affable.

Sperccr, p. 505. “ Of a tall stature, and of sable hue, Much like the son of Kish, that lofty Jew."

Andrew Marvel. IIe was an illustrious exception to all the common rules of physiognomy, for with a most saturnine, harsh sort of countenance, he was both of a merry and merciful disposition. Sheffield.

As a man and a prince, there are few characters more detestable than Charles II. Weakness, levity, folly, indolence, profligacy, and wickedness in almost every shape were the distinguishing features of his character. These qualities were exemplified throughout his whole reign, and even before his reign commenced. During his exile he delivered himself so entirely to his pleasures that he became wholly incapable of application.

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