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SHARPE'S LONDON JOURNAL.
A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF ANDREW Here he was presently ensnared by the proselytizing MARVELL.
cunning of the Jesuits, who induced him to quit his
studies and run away to London, but with what speANDREW MARVELL, the incorruptiblest of men and cisic object is not distinctly stated. Thither, however, senators in an age when nearly all men and senators his father traced him, and after considerable searching Tere corrupt, was in his lifetime a person much and inquiry, discovered him accidentally in a bookesteemed for his wisdom and his wit; and for his cha- seller's shop. He was restored to the university, and racter and conduct has been since considered worthy for the two succeeding years he pursued his studies of an lionourable remembrance, being, indeed, now withi becoming diligence and success. generally regarded as one of those true and faithful While yet at College, Andrew lost his father, under spirits that are born for the benefit and ornament of circumstances peculiarly sudden and affecting. It the world. As it is presumable that the acts and
among his intimate acquaintances there qualities of such a man are still possessed of interest, was a lady, residing on the other side of the Humber, it shall be our present effort to show what manner of and who had an only, interesting daughter, endeared man he was, and to represent, in so far as present to all who knew hier, and by her mother so idolized limits will admit, something of his actual life and and passionately beloved, that she was scarcely crer couversation. The delineation will be necessarily im- permitted to pass an hour out of her presence. On perfect, but such as it is it shall be accurate, and, if one occasion, however, in compliance with the solicipossible, entertaining.
tations of Mr. Marvell, she was allowed to cross over Be it known, then, to all such as do not already know to Hull to be present at the baptism of one of it, that Andrew Marvell was born at Kingston-upon- his children. The day after the ceremony the
young Hull, in these days of abbreviation commonly called lady was to return. The weather was unusually temHull, on the 15th of November, 1620. His father, pestuous, and on reaching the river side, accompanied also called Andrew, was master of the Grammar by her reverend friend, the boatmen endeavoured to School, and lecturer at the church of the lIoly Trinity dissuade her from passing over. Afraid of alarming in that town. Fuller mentions him as being remark- her mother by hier prolonged absence slie unhappily able for his facetiousness, and says further, that “he persisted. Mr. Marvell, seconding the representations was a most excellent preacher, who never broached of the boatmen, urged the danger of the undertaking; what he had new brewed, but preached what he had but finding her resolved to go, he told her that as she pre-studied some competent time before, inasmuch as bad incurred the impending peril to oblige him, he he was wont to say, that he would cross the common felt “bound in honour and conscience" not to desert proverb which called Saturday the working day, and her ; and having at length prevailed on some of the Monday the holiday of preachers.” But if his boatmen to liazard the passage, they embarked. As preaching was thus excellent, his life was not the less they were putting off, he llung his cane on shore, so; indeed, there seems reason to believe that lic telling the bystanders that, in case he should never very much resembled the “Good Parson ” drawn by return, it was to be given to liis son, with the injuncChaucer :
tion “to remember bis father.” Ilis apprehensions
'were very shortly realized: the boat was upset, and “Rich he was in holy thought and work ;
both were lost.
Great was the grief of the bereaved mother, but
sions, she sent for young Marvell, and signified a disof young Andrew's early ycars there is nothing position to aid him in completing his education; and particular related. A bold imagination may figure at her death, some time afterwards, slie left him the lim as a frank and joyous boy, with probably a tinge whole of her possessions. Meauwhile, having taken of pensiveness, studying the Latin grammar under his bachelor's degree, in or about 1638, he appears to bis father at the Grammar School, and spending his have been admitted to a scholarship. This, however, leisure time in such youthful recreations as were he does not seem to have retained long. A lively, common to his age and country. Having given suffi- and perhaps riotous temperament exposed him to a cient indications of ability, and obtained “ an exhibi- variety of temptations, into some of which he evidently tion from his native town,” he was sent, when hardly fell; for we learn that he became "negligent of his fifteen years of age, to Trinity College, Cambridge. I studies," and absented himself from certain "exer
cises,” which rendered lim amenable to discipline. 1 year, and addressed to John Bradshaw, Marvell is The result of these irregularities was rather serious, described as a man of “singular deseri," and as inasmuch as on the 24th September, 1641, he was being in point of learning and ability well qualified adjudged by the masters and seniors to be unworthy of for the appointment lie was then soliciting. The receiving “any further benefit from the college,” letter concludes in these terms: “This, my lord, I unless he should show cause to the contrary within write sincerely, without any oiher end than to perform the space of three months; a gracious reservation, of my duty to the public in helping them to an humble which he does not appear to bave availed himself. servant ; laying aside those jealousies and that emulaFor that default he had, of course, to quit the univer- tion which mine own condition might suggest to me, sity, and he accordingly girded up his loins for adven- by bringing in such a coadjutor.” Though thus tures in the open world.
strongly recommended, Marvell was unsuccessful in It seemed to Andrew that perhaps the best thing his application, and did not obtain the office till five he could do was to “set out on his travels.” He years afterwards. therefore departed, probably about the beginning of The powers in ligh places seem nevertheless to 1612, and journeyed over a great part of Europe. have been well disposed to serve him: for in 1653 he On reaching Rome he fell in with his countryman was appointed tutor to Cromwell's nephew, Mr. Dutton. John Milton, and here, it is believed, began their Marvell's mode of proceeding towards his pupil appears well-known and life-long friendship. It would be a to have been distinguished by great sense and conscipleasant accession to the biography of both, could one entiousness, and even by a touch of Yorkshire caution. recover out of the depths of forgetfulness some of “I have taken care," says he, in a letter to the Prothose brilliant and stirring conversations in which they tector, “ to examine liim several times in the presence no doubt frequently engaged; but as there was no of Mr. Oxenbridge, as those who weigh and tell over ready-writing Boswell there to do them such a service, money before some witness ere they take charge of it, this portion of their history remains, and will remain, for I thought there might be possibly some lightness extremely indistinct. The most of what we learn of in the coin, or error in the telling, which hereafter I them is this : that both being men of intrepidity, with should be bound to make good.” He adds further : a strain of the Puritan in their constitutions, they “He is of gentle and waxen disposition; and God be openly argued against the superstitions of the Romish praised, I cannot say he bath brought with him any church, within the very precincts of the Vatican; and, evil impression, and I shall hope to set nothing into what was hardly to have been expected, came off his spirit but what may be of a good sculpture.” How scathless. It would seem, however, that there was a Marvell succeeded in building up the inner man of certain kind of tolerance in the popish authorities of Mr. Dutton, or for what length of time he was so the times, and that they could very well afford to let engaged, cannot here be certified, owing to the scana pair of hot-tempered and noble-spirited strangers tiness of the materials relating to this part of his life. speak their minds.
But there seems reason to believe that, in whatsoever It was at Rome that Marvell began to try his hand way employed, he remained connected with the person at authorship; the “heir of bis invention” being a and family of Cromwell for a considerable period, as lampoon on Richard Flecknoe. It is now pretty well on the publication of Milton's "Second Defence of forgotten, or remembered mainly as having suggested the People of England," he was commissioned to Dryden's famous satire on Laureate Shadwell. Going present the work to the Protector, and in 1657 was afterwards to Paris, Marvell made another satirical promoted to the Assistant Secretaryship which he had effort, designing thereby to bring into contempt a cer- formerly solicited. tain Abbe Manibou, who, after the manner of our present In 1658 Cromwell died, and we hear no more of "graphiologists," professed to interpret the characters Marvell till the opening of the parliament in 1660. To and indicate the fortunes of individuals by an inspec- that parliament he was returned for his native town tion of their handwritings. His piece was written in of Hull. He was one of the last members of the Latin, and in point of merit it is considered about House of Commons that received wages from their equal to his first performance. What impression it constituents, and the duties which he performed were made on the public has not been very certainly perhaps on that account more onerous than those of ascertained.
ordinary senators. Ile appears to have carried on a For some years after this, Marvell's history is in regular correspondence with the Hull electors, giving great part a blank. We find, however, that having them full particulars of the parliamentary proceedings, been "four years abroad, in Holland, France, Italy, and of the part which he himself took in them. A and Spain,” he was sometime subsequently engaged great number of his letters are still preserved, and are in the liousehold of Lord Fairfax, for the purpose of valuable for the proofs which they afford of the giving " instructions in the languages” to the daughter writer's diligence and fidelity, and in some respects of that nobleman. How long he remained in this em- also as throwing light on certain points of parliamenployment is nowise clear or certain. In 1652 he tary history and usage. A few passages from these offered himself as a candidate for the office of Assistant leiters, intermingled with certain portions of his Latin Secretary to the existing government. In a private correspondence, may serve perhaps to illusletter of Milton's, dated the 21st of February in that trate the character of Marvell's patriotism, and to
show the unsparing criticisin which he applied to the | his faults, Charles II. was a pleasant fellow. Of public transactions of the times.
another kind of pleasantry, arising out of the peculiar It is matter of notoriety that the court and admin relations between members of Parliament and their istration of Charles II. were extremely unscrupulous constituencies, we obtain some curious glimpses from and corrupt: it may not, liowever, be uninteresting these letters. On more than one occasion it appears to some to see a little of what Marvell noted close at that members had sued their constiluents for arrears of liand. In a letter to a friend in Persia, he says: pay; and that others had threatened to do the like, “ The king having, upon pretence of the great prepa- unless the said constituents would agree to re-elect rations of his neighbours, demanded 300,0001. for liis them at the next election. “To-day,” says Marvell nary, (though in conclusion he hath not set out any,) (in a letter dated March 3, 1676-7), “Sir Harbottle and that the parliament should pay his debts (which Grimstone, Master of the Rolls, moved for a bill to be the ministers would never particularize to the House brought in, to indemnify all counties, cities, and of Commons,) our House gave several bills. You borouglis, for the wages due to their members for the see how far things were stretched, though beyond time past, which was introduced by him upon very reason, there being no satisfaction how those debts good reason, both because of the poverty of many were contracted, and all men foreseeing that what people not able to supply so long an arrear, especially was given would not be applied to discharge the new taxes 110w coming upon them, and also because debts, which I hear are at this day risen to four Sir Jolin Shaw, the Recorder of Colchester, had sued millions; but diverted as formerly. Nevertheless, the town for his wages; several other members also such was the number of the constant courtiers in- having, it seems, threatened their boroughs to do the creased by the apostate patriots, who were bought off same, unless they should choose them upon another for that tum, some at six, others ten, one at fifteen election to Parliament.” We gather further that thousand pounds in money, besides what offices, lands, electors of those days did not pride themselves very and reversions to others, that it is a mercy they gare much upon the suffrage, and that there were even acé avay the whole land and liberty of England." In instances of unpatriotic boroughs begging to be disthe same letter lie adds: “They have signed and franchised, to escape the burdensome honour of scaled ten thousand pounds a - year more to the sending representatives ! Duchess of Cleveland, who has likewise near ten In such a state of things, it was hardly to be ex. thousand pounds a-year out of the new farm of the pected that the attendance of members should be country excise of beer and ale, five thousand a-year very prompt or punctual. Such, indeed, was the out of the Post-office, and they say the reversion of difficulty of obtaining a "full House," that it was all the king's leases, the reversion of all places in the decmed advisable at various times to threaten serere Custom House, the green wax, and indeed what not ? penalties against the absentees. In one of these All promotions, spiritual and temporal, pass under her letters we are told—“The IIouse was called yesterday, cognisance."
and gave defaulters a fortnight's time, by which if Of the king's unconstitutional visits to the Ilouse they do not come up they may expect the greatest of Peers, Marvell gives the following account :- severity.” In another—"The lIouse of Commons
Being sat, he told them it was a privilege he claimed was taken up for the most part yesterday in calling from his ancestors to be present at their deliberations. over their House, and having ordered a letter to be That therefore they should not for liis coming, inter- drawn up from the Speaker to every place for which rupt their debates, but proceed, and be covered. They there is any defaulter, to signify the absence of their did so. It is true that this lias been done long ago : members; and a solemn letter is accordingly preparing, but it is now so old that it is new, and so disused, to be signed by the Speaker. This is thought a sufthat at any other but so bewitched a time as this, it ficient punishment for any modest man; nevertheless, would have been looked on as a high usurpation and if they shall not come up hereupon, there is a further breach of privilege. He indeed sat still, for the most severity reserved." These reserved sevcritics, howpart, and interposed very little . . . . After three or ever, could be rarely put in practice, so that the four days' continuance, the lords were very well used absenteeism of honourable gentlemen was for a long to the king's presence, and sent the lord steward and time more or less a standing hindrance to legislation. lord chamberlain to him, to know when they might Among the other unpleasant perplexitics incident wait as a house on him, to render their humble thanks to the IIouse of Commons in those days, were the for the honour lie did them. The hour was appointed frequent disputes into which they were in the habit them, and they thanked him; and he took it well. of falling with the House of Lords. The following So this matter, of such importance on all great occa. is an amusing complication of their relations, and sious, seems riveted to them and us for the future, must liave been extremely dillicult of adjustment. and to all posterity. ... The king has ever since “I have no more time than to tell you that the Lords continued liis session among them, and says it is having judged and fined the East India Company, as belter than going to a play.” ?
we think illegally, upon the petition of one Skyner, a From this one can perceive that, whatever might be merchant, and they petitioning us for redress, we have
imprisoned him that petitioned them, and they have (2) Ibid. pp. 417-419.
imprisoned several of those that petitioned us." “It
(1) Marvell's Letters, pp. 405, 406.
is,” adds Marvell, “a business of high and dangerous | racter. It appears that he oncc spent an evening at consequence,” as indeed it manifestly was, thougli Court, and very highly delighted the “ monarch" nothing very serious resulted.
by his wit and other personal accomplishments. In As a curious example of the odd accidents on which this there is nothing to astonish us; as it is known important events may sometimes depend, the following that Charles enjoyed wit and lively conversation singular anecdote may be cited. Sir G. Carteret had almost more than anything. To his excessive adinibeen charged with embezzlement of public money. ration of wit and drollery he was indeed continually " The House,” says Marvell, dividing upon the sacrificing his royal dignity. However, one morning question, the ayes went out, and wondered why they after the above-mentioned interview, he sent Danby were kept out so extraordinary a time; the ages to wait on our patriot with a special message of regard. proved 138, and the noes 129; and the reason of the Charles perhaps might think that with a fellow of such long stay then appeared. The tellers for the ayes humour it would not be impossible to come to an chanced to be very ill reckoners, so that they were understanding. His lordship had some difficulty in forced to tell several times over in the house; and finding Marvell’s residence, but at last discovered it when at last the tellers for the ages would have agreed on a second floor, in a dark court communicating with the noes to be 142, the nocs would nccds say that the Strand. It is said, that in groping up the they were 143; whercupon those for he ayes would narrow staircase, le stumbled against the door of the tell once more, and then found the noes to be indeed apartment, which, flying open, revealed to him the but 129, and the ayes then coming in proved to be patriot writing at his desk. A little surprised, Marvell 138; whereas if the noes had been content with the asked his lordship, with a smile, if he had not missed first error of the tellers, Sir George had been quit his way. "No," said Danby, in courtly phrascology; upon that observation.”
“No; nct since I have succeeded in finding Mr. It appears there is no evidence that Marvell ever Marvell.” He then proceeded to inform him that he spoke in Parliament. He was nearly twenty years a came with a message from the king, who was impressed member, and all the time a silent one. His influence with a deep sense of his merits, and was anxious to in the House, nevertheless, seems to have been more serve him. Marvell replied, pleasantly, “that his than usually considerable. The strong and decided majesty had it not in his power to serve him.” As views which he took on public affairs, the severe, Danby pressed him seriously, he told his lordship at satirical things which he was constantly uttering in length that he knew well enough that he who accepts conversation, or publishing in pamphlets and addresses, court favours is naturally expected to vote in conand the stedfast and well-known integrity by which formity with its interests. On his lordship's saying his entire conduct was distinguished, rendered him a “that his majesty only desired to know whicther there formidable opponent to the government, and even was any place at court which he would accept,” the gained for him the secret respect of some of the patriot replied, " that he could accept nothing with court party. Prince Rupert honoured him with his honour, for either he must treat the king with ingrafriendship, and is said to have remained attached to titude by refusing compliance with court incasures, or him when “the rest of the party had honoured him be a traitor to his country by yielding to them.” The by their hatred,” and to have occasionally visited him only favour, therefore, he begged of his majesty, was at his lodgings. When he voted on Marvell's side of to esteem him as a loyal subject, and truer to his the House, as not unfrequently happened, it used to actual interests in refusing his offers than he could be be said that he had been closeted" with his tutor.” | by accepting them. His lordship having exhausted Our patriot, however, was nowise without his enemies this species of persuasion, had recourse to what he -as indeed every good man necessarily lives in anta- probably considered more formidablc logic, and told gonism with the bad; and there are no relations him that his majesty requested his acceptance of a hitherto discovered under which they can with any thousand pounds. But this too was firmly and repermanence be amicably associated. We find it said spectfully rejected, though, as it is related, soon after that on more than one occasion, Marvell was threatened Danby left him, Marvell was compelled to borrow a with assassination; so that in spite of conscious virtuc guinea from a friend, to meet his immediate expenses. he had need of walking guardedly, and with the It has been already hinted, that though no orator strictest circumspection.
in Parliament, Marvell was moderately ready with his Of his severe probity, lvis utter inaccessibility pen ; and there can be no one at all acquainted with to bribery, and the manifold forms of flattery and English literature, who docs not know that he was temptation wbich the governing powers employed one of the most popular writers of his age. Most of against him, there are many substantial evidences. This works, however, were written for tenporary purThe account of his memorable interview with the poses, and have accordingly in great part passed out Lord Treasurer Danby, though it lias often been of mind with the circumstances that occasioned them. repeated, and is, perhaps, generally familiar to his. The production on which his fame as an author may torical readers, cannot properly be omitted in any be said principally to rest, is the Rehearsal Transprosed relation having reference to Marvell's acts and cha- -a piece written in a controversy with Dr. Samuel
Parker, afterwards Bishop of Oxford, a splendid im(1) Letters, pp. 125, 126.
personation of the High-Church militant. Parker, in