페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

Me Urbas, April 4, 2018 a terms in the church of (orite to I HEARTILY wish that there hul the Bissip's memury. been so mub care in preserving the Now in all this or in part of this memorials of the dead which have been she may have been quite wrong: tu: erected from time to time in the the story carries with it a primi fizcie churches of the diocese of York as to appearance of truth. I know of noju-tify your correspondent from Hali- thing which tends to invalidate it; and fax (p. 360) in his interence that be. I see in the fact which we find in King cause no tomb to the memory of Bishop Henry's Valor, that the incumbent of Farrer now exists in the church of the church of Carlton at the time of Carlton in Lindrick, that therefore no the Reformation wis of the sanie sursuch tomb ever did exist. As well name with the Bishop, something which might be contend that because the is favourable to the account which brasses of Laily Jountjoy anil of Dodsworth has perpetuated. His name Stephen Bright are no longer to be was William Farrer; and as he was, seen on the floor of the church of unlike most of the incumbents of that Sheffield they never were there; or time, a Doctor of Laws, there is a prethat because there is now no tomb of sumption that he was related to Dr. RoStrey in the church of Doncaster no bert Farrer, perhaps even his brother. such tomb ever existed. Indeed his The strong protestant feeling in the own church of Halifax might have parts of Nottinghamshire from Workafforded him sufficient evidence that sop to Retford, evidenced in the cases it does not require three centuries of of Van Baller, Lascelles, and Denman, time for the effacing of memorials may also in some degree tend to acwhich those who erected them had count for the erection of a memorial perhaps vainly hoped would last for of one of the episcopal martyrs in one ever.

of the churches of the district. I cannot therefore but wish that he I must, however, acknowledge that had shown us some better reason for I know of no other notice of this tomb. discrediting a statement which, I can But old Nottinghamshire church notes assure him, was not made without some are exceedingly few, and there is consideration of the evidence.

scarcely any county for which so little Some of the most instructive of Dods- has been done by our old collectors of worth's topographical notes are those family history. made from conversations with his con- In the information given by Mrs. temporaries. One of his friends to Anne Clapham to Dodsworth, there is, whom he was indebted for information moreover, another statement which is was Mrs. Anne Clapham, the daughter of more importance in reference to of Gresham Clapham of Cottingley near Bishop Farrer than that he had a Leeds, and a member of the very an- tomb in the church of Carlton. She cient family of Clapham of Beamsley. said that he was born near Blackburn. This lady was born in 1588 (Duc. Leod. Whether in this point her information p. 219). She gave to Dodsworth in is to be depended on may be doubted some detail an account of her descent by many, for nothing is more certain and family connections. This he pre- than that there was a family of the served in his Collections, and it may name of Farrer settled in his time in be now seen in vol. cxxxv. f. 79 b, the township of Midgley, and that he at the Bodleian. In this she states has been claimed as belonging to them that through her mother she was re- by Wood and Thoresby, and a host of lated to Bishop Farrer, and, specifi- later writers. It will be a fortunate cally, that her mother Ann Fisher was result of the measure by which the the Bishop's great niece (half-blood), people of Halifax have lately shown her grandmother, originally Fitton, their respect to the Bishop's memory being the Bishop's half-sister. She if it be the occasion of bringing to light also informed Dodsworth that this half- evidence of the family connections, desister had land and tithe at Carlton of scent, and birth of this remarkable man. the Bishop's gift, and finally, that there

Yours, &c. Joseph HUNTER.

SIR KENELME DIGBY, HIS CHARACTER AND WRITINGS.

THE name of Sir Kenelme Digby she is commonly supposed to have calls up various and generally very in- permitted her son Kenelme, from podistinct associations in the minds of litical motives, to be educated in the modern readers. According to the Protestant faith. He was placed, at kinds of reading or study to which an early age, under the tuition of they have been accustomed, he is re- Archbishop Laud, at that time Dean garded as the philosopher, the quack, of Gloucester. Since, however, there the soldier, the man of learning, the are arguments in favour of the suppofriend of Descartes, the courtier, the sition that Digby was a Catholic as critic, or the chivalrous gallant, or as early as 1623, Sir II. Nicolas suga combination of some or all of these. gests that he might never, in reality, Just views of this remarkable character have been of any other religion. But are rare. Digby's literary reputation we do not think that either supposition rests chiefly upon his short notes to is borne out by facts. Digby was not Sir Thomas Browne's“Religio Medici," the man to have dissimulated his reliby no means the most markworthy of gion so well and so long as he must his productions. The reader of novels have done, in order to give rise to the and “ Memoirs" knows him only from correspondence which passed between Sir H. Nicolas's publication, from the him and Laud in 1636, upon the occaMS. in the British Museum, of the sion of his professed conversion to Capartly fabulous history of his con- tholicism. Digby's mind, which was nection with Venetia Stanley, written by himself. The student of history

“As wide as Asia, and as weak," and literature in general has derived was of precisely the nature to acknowhis knowledge of him from accounts ledge the plausible pretensions of the of his life, the writers of which have Roman Church, and to deliver up his been unacquainted with that very intellect to her service with delight. curious document. We shall place He was a man of much thought, little before our readers as complete an ac- judgment, and considerable inherent count of Sir Kenelme's character as goodness; and such men lean naturally our space and the existing materials more than others to an external authowill admit of.

rity. Digby had, moreover, a very His father, Sir Everard Digby, acute feeling for superficial beauty of was, perhaps, the most respectable of all kinds; and his share of credulity the conspirators in the Gunpowder was large, as is sufficiently proved by Treason, and at the time he atoned the course taken by him with regard for his crime upon the scaffold his to the celebrated “sympathetic poweldest son Kenelme was three years of der.” It would be difficult to conceive age, having been born on the 11th of a character more likely to take up June, 1603. Sir Kenelme complains, hastily with the seductive faith of in his Memoirs, in which he appears Rome than was that of Sir Kenelme under the name of Theagenes, that he Digby. “ from his father hath inherited no. When Digby was fifteen years old thing but a foul stain in his blood for he went to Oxford, and was entered at attempting to make a fatal revolution Gloucester Hall, where he studied unin the state." “But," writes the editor der the distinguished scholar Thomas of Sir Kenelme's MS., “ such was not Allen. During the two years of his strictly true, for two of Sir Everard's residence at the University Digby obmanors, as well as his wife's property, tained a brilliant reputation. In the having been entailed, the crown was year 1621 he set out upon his travels ; defeated in the effort to take posses- and from this time to the year 1623 sion of them, and Digby is considered we know nothing concerning him beto have inherited an estate of 3,0001. sides what is to be found in his own per annum." His mother, Mary, the “Memoirs." daughter and co-heiress of William The general fidelity of these memoirs Mulsho of Gotthurst, in Buckingham- is not to be doubted, their narrative shire, was a Catholic in profession, but being in very many cases supported by GENT. MAG. VOL. XXIX,

3Q

other historians. The editor writes, all men now living for solidity and “Under feigned appellations, but to generality of learning, he is already the greater proportion of which there grown so eminent that I have heard is no difficulty in giving a key, Digby them say who have insight that way has detailed all the events of his life, that, if a lazy desire of ease, or ambifrom his childhood until his victory tion of public employments, or some over the Venetian squadron at Scan- other disturbance, do not interrupt him deroon, in June 1628 ; and, as the nar- in this course, he is like to attain to rative was solely written from feelings great perfection ; at least I can disof affection for his wife, that cele cern thus much, that he hath such a brated woman is the heroine of his temper of complexion and wit that tale."

his friends have reason to pray God Venetia Stanley was a daughter of that he may take a right way, for it Sir Edward Stanley, of Tonge Castle, cannot keep itself in inediocrity, but in Shropshire, eldest son of Sir Thomas will infallibly fall to some extreme." Stanley, a younger son of Edward third This picture is corroborated and comEarl of Derby. She was born on the pleted by Lord Clarendon's descrip19th of December, 1600 ; and was tion of Digby :-“ He was a person therefore two years and a half older than very eminent and notorious throughout Sir Kenelme. Her mother was Lucy, the whole course of his life, from his daughter and co-heiress of Thomas cradle to his grave; of an ancient Percy, seventh Earl of Northumber family and noble extraction, and inheland. After the decease of her mother, rited a fair and plentiful fortune, notwhich occurred when Venetia was only withstanding the attainder of his faa few months old, she was confided, ther. He was a man of very extraaccording to Sir Kenelme's MS., to the ordinary person and presence, which care of the wife of one her father's re- drew the eyes of all men upon him, latives, whose house was near that of which were more fixed by a wonderful Lady Digby ; in consequence of this graceful behaviour, a flowing courtesy Venetia and Kenelme became play- and civility, and such a volubility of mates and lovers.

language, as surprised and delighted; They were a remarkable pair, and and, though in another man it might well suited to each other. They were have appeared to have somewhat of both high-born, noble in appearance, affectation, it was marvellous graceful and of a temperament the liberality of in him, and seemed natural to his size which amounted to moral laxity. We and mould of his person, to the gravity read the story of their love, as it has of his motion, and the tune of his voice been recorded by Sir Kenelme himself, and delivery. ....... In a word, with a feeling akin to that with which he had all the advantages that nature we look upon a rose just blown and and art and an excellent education covered with morning dew; every could give him, which, with a great thing is young, fresh, and generous; confidence and presentness of mind, and it is with difficulty that we ab- bouyed him up against all those prestain from admiring in our hearts that judices and disadvantages (as the atwhich it is impossible for our judg- tainder and execution of his father for ments to approve. Digby was in every a crime of the highest nature; his own way fitted for a lady's love: in this marriage with a lady, though of an respect even the consciousness which extraordinary beauty, of as extraenabled him to put the following de ordinary a fame; his changing and rescription of himself into the mouth of changing his religion, and some perone of the personages of his tale was sonal vices and licences in his life.) no small advantage. “ Although the which would have suppressed and great strength and well-forming of his sunk any other man." body make him apt for any corporal . We shall not follow Digby very exercises, yet he pleaseth himself most closely, either in his career as a lover, in the entertainments of the mind, so or as a politician; such circumstances that, having applied himself to the as seem to throw light upon his perstudy of philosophy, and other deepest sonal and literary character call chiefly sciences, wherein he hath a preceptor for our notice. Well as he was adaptin the house with him, famous beyond ed for the attainment of any and in

deed of every kind of excellence, accounts which have been written by learning was his chief delight. In others of him. He professes that this writing to his kinsman, John Digby, sketch was written purely to relieve Earl of Bristol, he says, “Whereas the pain of a necessary absence from you intimate that I should be framed Venetia ; and, in terms which leave in such a mould as that I may be fit some doubt, with us, of his complete for the service of my king and affairs candour upon the point, he states his of state, I must confess ingenuously wish that what he writes may never that I find in myself no inclination at meet any other eyes than his own, a all that way; and, indeed, my educa- wish the fulfilment of which might tion hath been very contrary there. easily have been secured by the deunto, for hitherto I have conversed the struction of the MS. as soon as it had most part of my time with the gentle served its avowed purpose. But we muses, or, at least, grounded my chief would not be supposed to insinuate delight in them, who are enemies to that Digby's want of candour in this, the troubles and disquiets that accom. and in one or two similar instances, pany an active life.” Notwithstand- was rendered culpable by being coning this professed aversion to political scious. He seems to have had a great activity, we find Digby very frequently power of self-deception, and, with all mixed up with matters of state. He his brilliancy, to have been strangely had scarcely attained to manhood when wanting in true depth and solidity of he was called to Madrid by the Earl character. He appears often to have of Bristol, who was then engaged in persuaded himself that that which he negociating the marriage of the Prince wished to be true was so: and as he of Wales, afterwards Charles the First. was himself deficient in the highest He received the honour of knight. qualities of character, so he seems not hood at the early age of 20. Upon to have been able to perceive the dethe death of King James, Digby grew fect of them in others. All that he into high favour at the new court says, in his “Memoirs," in defence of He was appointed gentleman of the his wife's name, which seems to have bed-chamber, and was made a com- been assailed not without some reamissioner of the navy and a governor son, would weigh against her in the of the Trinity House; and, while he estimation of every person who had was yet quite a young man, he was not, like Sir Kenelme, learned to drown employed as commander of a squadron morality in metaphysics when it beagainst the Venetians, and gained his came convenient to do so. Digby celebrated victory at Scandaroon. seems thoroughly to have persuaded Upon this, as upon several other minor himself that his passion for Venetia had occasions, Digby exhibited an amount all along been of a loftier character of valour and of political tact seldom than, probably, most readers of his found in combination with contem- “Memoirs" would feel disposed to allow plative powers of a very high order. it to have been. Not to mention inBut, notwithstanding the valour and cidents of a very questionable "prodevotion which he displayed in the priety," the very style of his descripservice of his royal masters, he seems, tions, which are frequently very poetiduring this period, to have been equally cal, leans constantly to the sensual. faithful to philosophy and love. In We quote a characteristic specimen, the beginning of the year 1624, he was one that will give our readers a good married to Venetia Stanley, his ardour notion of the faults as well as the for whom appears to have been in- beauties of this remarkable sketch. creased, rather than diminished, by Digby describes a vision of Venetia : possession, if we may judge from his “It was a lady sitting upon a broken * Memoirs," which were written some trunk of a dead and rotten tree, in a years afterwards, and of which we pensive position, so that but part of shall say what we have to say at once, her face was discovered to them ; but instead of waiting until we coine to the general composure of her limbs was speak of his writings generally. so admirable that Theagenes (Digby)

We gather inore concerning Digby's doubted whether it was a goddess or character from these “Memoirs" than a humane creature. Her radiant hair from all his other writings, and all the hung dishevelled upon her white shoulders, and, together with them, was words :—" And thus have I briefly covered with a thin veil that from the pointed at the mistakes of this noble crown of her head reached to the and learned knight, whose worth and ground, through which they shined as ingenuity is such that he will not take the sun doth through a pale cloud, and it amiss in me to vindicate the truth, sometimes without that eclipsing shade which is the thing I only aim at. The did send out direct and unbroken moon hath her spots, and the greatest men beams, and so doubled the day of their failings," &c. ;-by which, probabeauty, which was caused by a gentle bly, the writer meant no more than we air that, as being jealous of that sense- moderns generally mean when we subless veil, did blow it ever and anon scribe ourselves very obedient, humble away, and played with those bright servants, &c. We dwell upon this hairs, adding new curled waves to matter, because it is a really innthose that nature made there. In her portant one. A whole race of writers fair face one might discover lilies and is surrounded, to modern eyes, by a roses admirably mixed; but in her fictitious balo, cast about them by a lips the rose alone did sit enthroned misapprehension of the value of the in sweet majesty. Her eyes, as being commendations of their cotemporaries. niggardly of their heart-piercing beams, Digby's marriage with Venetia were hid by her modest lids, which so Stanley was solemnized in secresy in veiled love's treasure and theirs ; her the year 1624; and the death of that swelling breast did expose to view of lady occurred in the year 1633. Dugreedy eyes his naked and miraculous ring the whole period of their union snow, where Love, though he were they seem to have been tenderly atfrozen, would recover heat again; part tached to one another, and, whatever of her bosom appeared, but the greater faults Venetia may have been chargeable part an envious vest did cover; her with before her marriage, her conduct cheek reposed upon her alabaster hand, after it appears to have been complete. and her courteous sleeve discovered The death of this lady is the subject most part of her fair arm, which rested of a graceful elegy by Joseph Rutter, upon her knee, while she with sighs which has not been noticed by any seemed to talk with her own thoughts." of Digby's biographers. This poem,

The frankness with which Sir Ke- which is entitled “Thyrsis, a Pastorall nelme depicts in these “ Memoirs" his Elegie, in the Person of Sir Kenelme own real or supposed excellences is Digby, on the Death of his noble Lady very amusing. Of this candour we Venetia Diyby," is chiefly remarkable have already presented our readers for its movement, which Milton seems with a sufficing instance. His self- to have imitated in parts of “Lycidas," admiration was, indeed, a matter of and for praises of Venetia, which are common observation among his con- greatly to her credit, and against that temporaries; but he seems to have of her detractor, Aubrey. carried it with so much grace, and to After his wife's decease, Digby rea have been so well guarded against al- tired to Gresham college, and devoted lowing his high valuation of hinself to himself to the study of chemistry, produce an under-valuation of others, “ wearing there a long mourning cloak, that this fault was scarcely regarded a high-cornered hat, his beard unas such by any of his wide circle of shorn, looking like a hermit, in sign learned and of courtly friends. Ilis of sorrow for his beloved wife." behaviour towards others appears to Several years previous to this time have been an extreme instance of the Digby had signalized himself by the perhaps extravagant courtesy of the results of his interest in natural phitimes,-a courtesy which we should losophy. It was soon after his marriage always bear in mind when we desire that his celebrated “sympathetic to estimate the value of the commen- powder" maile as much noise in the (lations passed by the old writers upon world as mesmerism has very lately each other's works. For example, a made among us. His professed dislittle and cleverly-written anonymous covery of, and the steps taken by him tract, called “ Anjinadversions upon with regard to, the “sympathetic Sir Kenelme Digby's Observations on powiler “ have been instrumental, toReligio Medici,“ concludes in these gether with one or two other causes,

« 이전계속 »