Scottish poet, novelist, historian and biographer.
Autograph Manuscript, two pages, oblong quarto, undated. Headed The Earl [afterwards Duke] of, the manuscript comments on various topics, including a play about Queen Elizabeth, inventions, universal corruption, and historical events.
“They cannot for example but be delighted to learn that the account of the new play Queen Elizabeth’s troubles and the history of eighty eight which is very curious as it seems to have consisted almost entirely in scenery and dumb show. The Queens Elizabeth and Mary appeared dressed in the costumes of their age and stood on the stage and explained the meaning of the action to the audience. Pepys was much affected with the sad story of Queen Elizabeth which he had sucked in from his cradle but fully as much as to see Krupp dance among the milkmaids and come out in the night-gown with no locks on but her bare face and hair only hid up in a knot behind which he thought the…dress he had…seen her in. The play as well as the very peculiar mode of representation seem to have escaped the industry of Isaac [Rush]. “…As a member of the useful arts may also remark that the introduction of the most successful inventions are not always successful in the commencement. Such was the case with the sort of carriages now most commonly in use and called at their first introduction glass coaches. Lady Ashly debated upon their bad qualities to Mr. Pepys ‘among others Vol. 11 P. 129 middle of page’ the ‘flying victorious.’ There were several men killed on the side of the French, one or two on that of the Spaniards and an Englishman by a bullet. There is no mention of any…taken of this affray by the English government though for the death of a British subject…a similar commotion during the protectorate Cromwell brought to trial and cut of[f] the head of Don Pantaleon for the brother of the Portuguese ambassador. “Corruption was universal. All offices were made subject of open traffick. Nothing could be done without a consideration either according to Fougards, received beforehand as Logice a bribe, or after the good will was done as a gratification. The slightest promise of service required such an acknowledgment and which round sums of money, silver porringers, gold cups and so forth were…among the rich and noble, the ‘smallest donation’ was accepted and expected from those who had no more to give. Upon a bare civil speech from his…patron, Sir George Downing, Pepys dispatched a peeler for his best fur cap that he might bestow it on Sir George as in duty bound. But the peeler tarried so long on the way that the principal had sailed before his arrival and so the cap returned [to] its place in Mr. Pepys wardrobe. Vol. I p. 9. What should we now think of the courtesy of a clerk who in return for some favourable speech of his master made his willing principal in the abundance of his gratitude a present of his best beaver hat. “21 Such were ‘Good King Charles’s golden days.’ However such great Scourges upon the land to punish as it served their enormous wickedness. War, pestilence and conflagration ravaged England by turns. Of these…calamities many and highly curious particulars are preserved in the Memoirs, Pepys having been called upon by situation to exert himself actively during them all and having uniformly displayed both sagacity and firmness. If quitting the broad path of history we seek for…information causes may account manners and customs the progress of arts and sciences and the various branches of antiquity we have never seen a source so rich as the volumes before us absolutely resembles the general cauldrons at the wielding of Comacho….”
This item is associated with the following category in our inventory:
- Literature – English/Irish