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command any order or silence. The French party wore white handkerchiefs in their hats, and they were so numerous as to defeat the others.
The next day, however, opened a different scene; "the nobles prepared to deliberate, and each palatine in his quarters was with his companions on their knees, and many
with tears in their eyes, chanting a hymn to the Holy Ghost; it must be confessed that this looked like a work of God,” says our secretary, who probably understood the manœuvring of the mock combat, or the mock prayers, much better than we may. Everything tells at an election, burlesque or solemnity!
The election took place, and the Duke of Anjou was proclaimed King of Poland—but the troubles of Montluc did not terminate. When they presented certain articles for his signature, the bishop discovered that these had undergone material alterations from the proposals submitted to him before the proclamation; these alterations referred to a disavowal of the Parisian massacre; the punishment of its authors, and toleration in religion. Montluc refused to sign, and cross-examined his Polish friends about the original proposals ; one party agreed that some things had been changed, but that they were too trivial to lose a crown for ; others declared that the alterations were necessary to allay the fears, or secure the safety, of the people. Our Gallic diplomatist was outwitted, and after all his intrigues and cunning, he found that the crown of Poland was only to be delivered on conditional terms.
In this dilemma, with a crown depending on a stroke of his pen,-remonstrating, entreating, arguing, and still delaying, like “ Ancient Pistol” swallowing his leek, he witnessed with alarm some preparations for a new election, and his rivals on the watch with their protests. Montluc, in despair, signed the conditions—“as
assured, however,” says the secretary, who groans over this finale, “ that when the elected monarch should arrive, the states would easily be induced to correct them, and place things in statu quo, as before the proclamation. I was not a witness, being then despatched to Paris with the joyful news, but I heard that the sieur eresque it was thought would have died in this agony, of being reduced to the hard necessity either to sign, or to lose the fruits of his labours. The conditions were afterwards for a long while disputed in France.” De Thou informs us, in lib. Ivii. of his
history, that Montluc after signing these conditions wrote to his master, that he was not bound by them, because they did not concern Poland in general, and that they had compelled him to sign, what at the game time he had informed them his instructions did not authorise. Such was the true Jesuitic conduct of a grey-haired politician, who at length found that honest plain sense could embarrass and finally entrap the creature of the cabinet, the artificial genius of diplomatic finesse.
The secretary, however, views nothing but his master's glory in the issue of this most difficult negotiation; and the triumph of Anjou over the youthful archduke, whom the Poles might have moulded to their will, and over the King of Sweden, who claimed the crown by his queen's side, and had offered to unite his part of Livonia with that which the Poles possessed. He labours hard to prove that the palatines and the castellans were not pratiqués, i.e., had their votes bought up by Montluc, as was reported; from their number and
their opposite interests, he confesses that the sieur evesque slept little, while in Poland, and that he only gained over the hearts of men by that natural gift of God which acquired him the title of the happy ambassador. He rather seems to regret that France was not prodigal of her purchase-money, than to affirm that all palatines were alike scrupulous of their honour.
One more fact may close this political sketch ; a lesson of the nature of court gratitude ! The French court affected to receive Choisnin with favour, but their suppressed discontent was reserved for “the happy ambassador!” Affairs had changed; Charles the Ninth was dying, and Catharine de' Medici in despair for a son to whom she had sacrificed all ; while Anjou, already immersed in the wantonness of youth and pleasure, considered his elevation to the throne of Poland as an exile which separated him from his depraved enjoyments! Montluc was rewarded only by incurring disgrace; Catharine de' Medici and the Duke of Anjou now looked coldly on bim, and expressed their dislike of his successful mission. “The mother of kings," as Choispin designates Catharine de' Medici, to whom he addresses his memoirs, with the hope of awakening her recollections of the zeal, the genius, and the success of his old master, had no longer any use for her favourite; and Montluc found, as the commentator of Choisnin expresses in a few words, an important truth in political morality, that “at court the interest of the moment is the measure of its affections and its hatreds.”'
BUILDINGS IN THE METROPOLIS, AND RESIDENCE IN
RECENTLY more than one of our learned judges from the bench have perhaps astonished their auditors by impressing them with an old-fashioned notion of residing more on their estates than the fashionable modes of life and the esprit de société, now overpowering all other esprit, will ever admit. These opinions excited my attention to a curious circumstance in the history of our manners—the great anxiety of our government, from the days of Elizabeth till much later than those of Charles the Second, to preserve the kingdom from
evils of an overgrown metropolis. The people themselves indeed participated in the same alarm at the growth of the city; while, however, they themselves were perpetuating the grievance which they complained of.
It is amusing to observe, that although the government was frequently employing even their most forcible acts to restrict the limits of the metropolis, the suburbs were gradually incorporating with the city, and Westminster at length united itself to London. Since that happy marriage, their fertile progenies have so blended together, that little Londons are no longer distinguishable from the ancient parent; we have succeeded in spreading the capital into a county, and have verified the prediction of James the First, “ that England will shortly be London, and London England."
“I think it a great object,” said Justice Best, in delivering his sentiments in favour of the Game Laws, "that gentlemen should have a temptation to reside in the country, amongst their neighbours and tenantry, whose interests must be materially advanced by such a circumstance. The links of society are thereby better preserved, and the mutual advantages and dependence of the higher and lower classes on one another are better maintained. The baneful effects of our present system we have lately seen in a neighbouring country, and an ingenious French writer has lately shown the ill consequences of it on the continent."*
* I have drawn up this article, for the curiosity of its subject and its details, from the “Discours au vray de tout ce qui s'est fait et passé pour l'entière Négociation de l'Election du Roi de Pologne, divisés en trois livres, par Jehan Choisnin du Chatelleraud, naguères Secrétaire de M. l'Evesque de Valence,” 1574.
These sentiments of a living luminary of the law afford some reason of policy for the dread which our government long entertained on account of the perpetual growth of the metropolis ; the nation, like a hypochondriac, was ludicrously terrified that their head was too monstrous for their body, and that it drew all the moisture of life from the middle and the extremities. Proclamations warned and exhorted; but the very interference of a royal prohibition seemed to render the crowded city more charming. In vain the statute against new buildings was passed by Elizabeth ; in vain during the reigns of James the First and both the Charleses we find proclamations continually issuing to forbid new erections.
James was apt to throw out his opinions in these frequent addresses to the people, who never attended to them: his majesty notices " those swarms of gentry, who through the instigation of their wives, or to new-model and fashion their daughters (who if they were unmarried, marred their reputations, and if married, lost them), did neglect their country hospitality, and cumber the city, a general nuisance to the kingdom.”—He addressed the Star Chamber to regulate “the exorbitancy of the new buildings about the city, which were but a shelter for those who, when they had spent their estates in coaches, lacqueys, and fine clothes like Frenchmen, lived miserably in their houses like Italians; but the honour of the English nobility and gentry is to be hospitable among their tenants.” Once conversing on this subject, the monarch threw out that happy illustration, which has been more than once noticed, that “ Gentlemen resident on their estates were like ships in port ; their value and magnitude were felt and acknowledged; but when at a distance, as their size seemed insignificant, so their worth and importance were not duly estimated.”+
* Morning Chronicle, January 23, 1820. + A proclamation was issued in the first year of King James, “conmanding gentlemen to depart the court and city,” because it hinders hospitality and endangers the people near their own residences, "who had from such houses much comfort and ease toward their living." The King graciously says :-“He tooke no small contentment in the resort of gentlemen, and other our subjects coming to visit us, holding their affectionate desire to see our person to be a certaine testimonie of their inward love ;' but he says he must not "give way to so great a mischiefe as the continuall resort may breed,” and that therefore all that have no special cause of attendance must at once go back until the time of his coronation, when they may “returne until the solemnity be passed;" but only for that time, for if the proclamation be slighted he shall “make them an example of contempt if we shall finde any making stay here contrary to this direction.” Such proclamations were from time to time issued, and though sometimes evaded, were frequently enforced by fines, so that living in London was a risk and danger to country gentlemen of fortune.
A manuscript writer of the times complains of the breaking up of old family establishments, all crowding to “ upstart London." Every one strives to be a Diogenes in his house, and an emperor in the streets; not caring if they sleep in a tub, so they may be hurried in a coach: giving that allowance to horses and mares that formerly maintained houses full of men; pinching many a belly to paint a few backs, and burying all the treasures of the kingdom into a few citizens' coffers; their woods into wardrobes, their leases into laces, and their goods and chattels into guarded coats and gaudy toys.” Such is the representation of an eloquent contemporary; and however contracted might have been his knowledge of the principles of political economy, and of that prosperity which a wealthy nation said to derive from its consumption of articles of luxury, the moral effects have not altered, nor has the scene in reality greatly changed.
The government not only frequently forbade new buildings within ten miles of London, but sometimes ordered them to be pulled down—after they had been erected for several years. Every six or seven years proclamations were issued. In Charles the First's reign, offenders were sharply prosecuted by a combined operation, not only against houses, but against persons. Many of the nobility and gentry, in 1632, were informed against for having resided in the city, contrary to the late proclamation. And the Attorney-General was then fully occupied in filing bills of indictment against them, as well as ladies, for staying in town. The following curious “ information” in the Star Chamber will serve our purpose.
The Attorney-General informs his majesty that both Elizabeth and James, by several proclamations, had commanded that “persons of livelihood and means should reside in their counties, and not abide or sojourn in the city of London,
Rushworth, vol. ii. p. 288.