Diary of a Stalker (Urban Renaissance)

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I accompanied my eldest brother, who then quitted Oxford, into the country; and, on the 9th of August, went to visit my friends at Lewes, whence I returned the 12th to Wotton.

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I received again the Holy Communion in our college chapel, one Prouse, a Fellow but a mad one , preaching. I offered at my first exercise in the Hall, and answered my opponent; and, upon the 11th following, declaimed in the chapel before the Master, Fellows, and Scholars, according to the custom. The 15th after, I first of all opposed in the Hall. The Christmas ensuing, being at a Comedy which the gentlemen of Exeter College presented to the University, and standing, for the better advantage of seeing, upon a table in the Hall, which was near to another, in the dark, being constrained by the extraordinary press to quit my station, in leaping down to save myself I dashed my right leg with such violence against the sharp edge of the other board, as gave me a hurt which held me in cure till almost Easter, and confined me to my study.

I would needs be admitted into the dancing and vaulting schools; of which late activity one Stokes, the master, did afterward set forth a pretty book, which was published, with many witty elogies before it. One Mr.

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Wariner preached in our chapel; and, on the 25th, Mr. Wentworth, a kinsman of the Earl of Strafford; after which followed the blessed Sacrament. My father ordered that I should begin to manage my own expenses, which till then my tutor had done; at which I was much satisfied.

Tom Burns and G. M. Stalker

I went home to visit my friends, and, on the 26th, with my brother and sister to Lewes, where we abode till the 31st; and thence to one Mr. Michael's, of Houghton, near Arundel, where we were very well treated; and, on the 2d of August, to Portsmouth, and thence, [Pg 11] having surveyed the fortifications a great rarity in that blessed halcyon time in England , we passed into the Isle of Wight, to the house of my Lady Richards, in a place called Yaverland; but were turned the following day to Chichester, where, having viewed the city and fair cathedral, we returned home.

About the beginning of September, I was so afflicted with a quartan ague, that I could by no means get rid of it till the December following. This was the fatal year wherein the rebellious Scots opposed the King, upon the pretense of the introduction of some new ceremonies and the Book of Common Prayer, and madly began our confusions, and their own destruction, too, as it proved in event.

I came back to Oxford, after my tedious indisposition, and to the infinite loss of my time; and now I began to look upon the rudiments of music, in which I afterward arrived to some formal knowledge, though to small perfection of hand, because I was so frequently diverted with inclinations to newer trifles. Accompanied with one Mr. Crafford who afterward being my fellow-traveler in Italy, there changed his religion , I took a journey of pleasure to see the Somersetshire baths, Bristol, Cirencester, Malmesbury, Abington, and divers other towns of lesser note; and returned the 25th.

According to injunctions from the Heads of Colleges, I went among the rest to the Confirmation at St. Mary's, where, after sermon, the Bishop of Oxford laid his hands upon us, with the usual form of benediction prescribed: but this received I fear for the more part out of curiosity, rather than with that due preparation and advice which had been requisite, could not be so effectual as otherwise that admirable and useful institution might have been, and as I have since deplored it.

Came my brother, Richard, from school, to be my chamber-fellow at the University. He was admitted the next day and matriculated the 31st. I went to London to see the solemnity of his Majesty's riding through the city in state to the Short Parliament, which began the 13th following,—a very [Pg 12] glorious and magnificent sight, the King circled with his royal diadem and the affections of his people: but the day after I returned to Wotton again, where I stayed, my father's indisposition suffering great intervals, till April 27th, when I was sent to London to be first resident at the Middle Temple: so as my being at the University, in regard of these avocations, was of very small benefit to me.

Upon May the 5th following, was the Parliament unhappily dissolved; and, on the 20th I returned with my brother George to Wotton, who, on the 28th of the same month, was married at Albury to Mrs. Caldwell an heiress of an ancient Leicestershire family, where part of the nuptials were celebrated. London, and especially the Court, were at this period in frequent disorders, and great insolences were committed by the abused and too happy City: in particular, the Bishop of Canterbury's Palace at Lambeth was assaulted by a rude rabble from Southwark, my Lord Chamberlain imprisoned and many scandalous libels and invectives scattered about the streets, to the reproach of Government, and the fermentation of our since distractions: so that, upon the 25th of June, I was sent for to Wotton, and the 27th after, my father's indisposition augmenting, by advice of the physicians he repaired to the Bath.

My brother George and I, understanding the peril my father was in upon a sudden attack of his infirmity, rode post from Guildford toward him, and found him extraordinary weak; yet so as that, continuing his course, he held out till the 8th of September, when I returned home with him in his litter. I saw his Majesty coming from [Pg 13] his Northern Expedition ride in pomp and a kind of ovation, with all the marks of a happy peace, restored to the affections of his people, being conducted through London with a most splendid cavalcade; and on the 3d of November following a day never to be mentioned without a curse , to that long ungrateful, foolish, and fatal Parliament, the beginning of all our sorrows for twenty years after, and the period of the most happy monarch in the world: Quis talia fando!

But my father being by this time entered into a dropsy, an indisposition the most unsuspected, being a person so exemplarily temperate, and of admirable regimen, hastened me back to Wotton, December the 12th; where, the 24th following, between twelve and one o'clock at noon, departed this life that excellent man and indulgent parent, retaining his senses and piety to the last, which he most tenderly expressed in blessing us, whom he now left to the world and the worst of times, while he was taken from the evil to come.

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It was a sad and lugubrious beginning of the year, when on the 2d of January, , we at night followed the mourning hearse to the church at Wotton; when, after a sermon and funeral oration by the minister, my father was interred near his formerly erected monument, and mingled with the ashes of our mother, his dear wife. Thus we were bereft of both our parents in a period when we most of all stood in need of their counsel and assistance, especially myself, of a raw, vain, uncertain, and very unwary inclination: but so it pleased God to make trial of my conduct in a conjuncture of the greatest and most prodigious hazard that ever the youth of England saw; and, if I did not amidst all this impeach my liberty nor my virtue with the rest who made shipwreck of both, it was more the infinite goodness and mercy of God than the least providence or discretion of mine own, who now thought of nothing but the pursuit of vanity, and the confused imaginations of young men.

I repaired to London to hear and see the famous trial of the Earl of Strafford, Lord-Deputy of Ireland, who, on the 22d of March, had been summoned before both Houses of Parliament, and now appeared in [Pg 14] Westminster-hall, 8 which was prepared with scaffolds for the Lords and Commons, who, together with the King, Queen, Prince, and flower of the noblesse, were spectators and auditors of the greatest malice and the greatest innocency that ever met before so illustrous an assembly.

It was Thomas, Earl of Arundel and Surrey, Earl Marshal of England, who was made High Steward upon this occasion; and the sequel is too well known to need any notice of the event. On the 27th of April, came over out of Holland the young Prince of Orange, with a splendid equipage, to make love to his Majesty's eldest daughter, the now Princess Royal. That evening, was celebrated the pompous funeral of the Duke of Richmond, who was carried in effigy, with all the ensigns of that illustrious family, in an open chariot, in great solemnity, through London to Westminster Abbey.

On the 12th of May, I beheld on Tower-hill the fatal stroke which severed the wisest head in England from the shoulders of the Earl of Strafford, whose crime coming under the cognizance of no human law or statute, a new one was made, not to be a precedent, but his destruction. With what reluctancy the King signed the execution, he has sufficiently expressed; to which he imputes his own unjust suffering—to such exorbitancy were things arrived. On the 24th of May, I returned to Wotton; and, on the 28th of June, I went to London with my sister, Jane, and the day after sat to one Vanderborcht for my picture in oil, at Arundel-house, whose servant that excellent painter was, brought out of Germany when the Earl returned from Vienna whither he was sent Ambassador-extraordinary, with great pomp and charge, though with [Pg 15] out any effect, through the artifice of the Jesuited Spaniard who governed all in that conjuncture.

With Vanderborcht, the painter, he brought over Winceslaus Hollar, the sculptor, who engraved not only the unhappy Deputy's trial in Westminster-hall, but his decapitation; as he did several other historical things, then relating to the accidents happening during the Rebellion in England, with great skill; besides many cities, towns, and landscapes, not only of this nation, but of foreign parts, and divers portraits of famous persons then in being; and things designed from the best pieces of the rare paintings and masters of which the Earl of Arundel was possessor, purchased and collected in his travels with incredible expense: so as, though Hollar's were but etched in aquafortis, I account the collection to be the most authentic and useful extant.

Hollar was the son of a gentleman near Prague, in Bohemia, and my very good friend, perverted at last by the Jesuits at Antwerp to change his religion; a very honest, simple, well-meaning man, who at last came over again into England, where he died. We have the whole history of the king's reign, from his trial in Westminster-hall and before, to the restoration of King Charles II. I am the more particular upon this for the fruit of that collection, which I wish I had entire.

This picture 9 I presented to my sister, being at her request, on my resolution to absent myself from this ill face of things at home, which gave umbrage to wiser than myself that the medal was reversing, and our calamities but yet in their infancy: so that, on the 15th of July, having procured a pass at the Custom-house, where I repeated my oath of allegiance, I went from London to Gravesend, accompanied with one Mr.

Caryll, a Surrey gentleman, and our servants, where we arrived by six o'clock that evening, with a purpose to take the first opportunity of a passage for Holland. But the wind as yet not favorable, we had time to view the Block-house of that town, which answered to another over against it [Pg 16] at Tilbury, famous for the rendezvous of Queen Elizabeth, in the year , which we found stored with twenty pieces of cannon, and other ammunition proportionable.

On the 19th of July, we made a short excursion to Rochester, and having seen the cathedral went to Chatham to see the Royal Sovereign, a glorious vessel of burden lately built there, being for defense and ornament, the richest that ever spread cloth before the wind. She carried an hundred brass cannon, and was 1, tons; a rare sailer, the work of the famous Phineas Pett, inventor of the frigate-fashion of building, to this day practiced.

But what is to be deplored as to this vessel is, that it cost his Majesty the affections of his subjects, perverted by the malcontent of great ones, who took occasion to quarrel for his having raised a very slight tax for the building of this, and equipping the rest of the navy, without an act of Parliament; though, by the suffrages of the major part of the Judges the King might legally do in times of imminent danger, of which his Majesty was best apprised.

But this not satisfying a jealous party, it was condemned as unprecedented, and not justifiable as to the Royal prerogative; and, accordingly, the Judges were removed out of their places, fined, and imprisoned. We returned again this evening, and on the 21st of July embarked in a Dutch frigate, bound for Flushing, convoyed and accompanied by five other stout vessels, whereof one was a man-of-war. The next day at noon, we landed at Flushing. Being desirous to overtake the Leagure, 11 which was then before Genep, ere the summer should be too far spent, we went this evening from Flushing to Middleburg, another fine town in this island, to De Vere, whence the most ancient and illustrious Earls of Oxford derive their family, who have spent so much blood in assisting the state during their wars.

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From De Vere we passed [Pg 17] over many towns, houses, and ruins of demolished suburbs, etc. The next day we arrived at Dort, the first town of Holland, furnished with all German commodities, and especially Rhenish wines and timber.

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It hath almost at the extremity a very spacious and venerable church; a stately senate house, wherein was holden that famous synod against the Arminians in ; and in that hall hangeth a picture of "The Passion," an exceeding rare and much-esteemed piece. From Dort, being desirous to hasten toward the army, I took wagon this afternoon to Rotterdam, whither we were hurried in less than an hour, though it be ten miles distant; so furiously do those Foremen drive. I went first to visit the great church, the Doole, the Bourse, and the public statue of the learned Erasmus, of brass.

They showed us his house, or rather the mean cottage, wherein he was born, over which there are extant these lines, in capital letters:. The 26th of July I passed by a straight and commodious river through Delft to the Hague; in which journey I observed divers leprous poor creatures dwelling in solitary huts on the brink of the water, and permitted to ask the charity of passengers, which is conveyed to them in a floating box that they cast out.

Arrived at the Hague, I went first to the Queen of Bohemia's court, where I had the honor to kiss her Majesty's hand, and several of the Princesses', her daughters. Prince Maurice was also there, newly come out of Germany; and my Lord Finch, not long before fled out of England from the fury of the Parliament.

It was a fasting day with the Queen for the unfortunate death of her husband, and the presence chamber had been hung with black velvet ever since his decease.

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The 28th of July I went to Leyden; and the 29th to Utrecht, being thirty English miles distant as they reckon by hours. It was now Kermas, or a fair, in this [Pg 18] town, the streets swarming with boors and rudeness, so that early the next morning, having visited the ancient Bishop's court, and the two famous churches, I satisfied my curiosity till my return, and better leisure.

We then came to Rynen, where the Queen of Bohemia hath a neat and well built palace, or country house, after the Italian manner, as I remember; and so, crossing the Rhine, upon which this villa is situated, lodged that night in a countryman's house. The 31st to Nimeguen; and on the 2d of August we arrived at the Leagure, where was then the whole army encamped about Genep, a very strong castle situated on the river Waal; but, being taken four or five days before, we had only a sight of the demolitions.


The next Sunday was the thanksgiving sermons performed in Colonel Goring's regiment eldest son of the since Earl of Norwich by Mr. Goffe, his chaplain now turned Roman, and father-confessor to the Queen-mother. The evening was spent in firing cannon and other expressions of military triumphs.

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Now, according to the compliment, I was received a volunteer in the company of Captain Apsley, of whose Captain-lieutenant, Honywood Apsley being absent , I received many civilities. The 3d of August, at night, we rode about the lines of circumvallation, the general being then in the field. The next day I was accommodated with a very spacious and commodious tent for my lodging; as before I was with a horse, which I had at command, and a hut which during the excessive heats was a great convenience; for the sun piercing the canvas of the tent, it was during the day unsufferable, and at night not seldom infested with mists and fogs, which ascended from the river.

As the turn came about, we were ordered to watch on a horn-work near our quarters, and trail a pike, being the next morning relieved by a company of French.