Page images

and found it concern'd his having been Custos foure or five dayes together. But if he admonished, and was not believed, because other boyes combined to discredit him with false witnesseing, and to save them selves, perhaps his crime is not so great. Another fault it seems he made, which was going into one Hawkes his house, with some others which you hapning to see, sent your servant to know who they were, and he onely returned you my sonn's name: so the rest escaped.

[ocr errors]

I have no fault to find with my sonn's punishment; for that is, and ought to be, reserv'd to any master, much more to you who have been his father's. But your man was certainly to blame, to name him onely; and 'tis onely my respect to you, that I do not take notice of it to him. My first rash resolutions were, to have brought things past any. composure, by immediately sending for my sonn's

In the hall of the college of Westminster, when the boys are at dinner, it is ex officio the place of the second boy in the second election to keep order among the two under elections; and if any word, after he has ordered silence, be spoken, except in Latin, he says to the speaker, tu es CUSTOS; and this term passes from the second speaker to the third or more, till dinner is over. Whoever is then Custos, has an imposition.

It is highly probable, (adds the very respectable gentleman to whom I am indebted for this information,) that there had formerly been a tessera or symbolum delivered from boy to boy, as at some French schools now, and that Custos meant Custos tesseræ, symboli, &c.; but at Westminster the symbol is totally unknown at present.

things out of college; but upon recollection, I find I have a double tye upon me not to do it: one, my obligations to you for my education another, my great tendernesse of doeing any thing offensive to my Lord Bishop of Rochester," as cheife governour of the college. It does not consist with the honour I beare him and you, to go so precipitately to worke; no, not so much as to have any difference with you, if it can possibly be avoyded. Yet, as my sonn stands now, I cannot see with what credit he can be elected; for, being but sixth, and (as you are pleased to judge) not deserving that neither, I know not whether he may not go immediately to Cambridge, as well as one of his own election went to Oxford this yeare' by your consent. I will say nothing of my second sonn, but that, after you had been pleased to advise me to waite on my Lord Bishop for his favour, I found he might have had the first place, if had not opposed it; and I likewise found at the election,


6 Dr. John Dolben, who was translated from Rochester to York, in August, 1683. Our author, in the Postscript to his Translation of Virgil, has mentioned the kindness of the Archbishop's son, Gilbert Dolben, Esq. in giving him the various editions of that author.

The person meant was Robert Morgan, who was elected with Charles Dryden into the college of Westminster in 1680, and is the only one of those then admitted, who was elected to Oxford in 1682. That circumstance, therefore, ascertains the year when this letter was written.

[blocks in formation]

that by the pains you had taken with him, he in some sort deserved it.

I hope, Sir, when you have given your selfe the trouble to read thus farr, you, who are a prudent man, will consider, that none complaine, but they desire to be reconciled at the same time: there is no mild expostulation at least, which does not intimate a kindness and respect in him who makes it. Be pleas'd, if there be no merit on my side, to make it your own act of grace to be what you were formerly to my sonn. I have done something, so far to conquer my own spirit as to ask it: and, indeed, I know not with what face to go to my Lord Bishop, and to tell him I am takeing away both my sonns; for though I shall tell him no occasion, it will looke like a disrespect to my old Master, of which I will not be guilty, if it be possible. I shall add no more, but hope I shall be so satisfyed with a favourable answer from you, which I promise to my selfe from your goodnesse and moderation, that I shall still have occasion to continue,


Your most obliged humble Servant,

The Letters to Dr. Busby have been already made publick; but are here printed from the originals, which have been obligingly communicated by Mr. John Nichols, author of the History of Leicestershire.




[Perhaps, August, 1683.]

I KNOW not whether my Lord Sunderland has interceded with your Lordship for half a yeare of my salary; but I have two other advocates, my extreme wants, even almost to arresting, and my ill health, which cannot be repaired without immediate retireing into the country. A quarter's allowance is but the Jesuites' powder to my disease; the fitt will return a fortnight hence. If I durst, I would plead a little merit, and some hazards of life from the common enemyes; my refuseing my advantages offered by them, and neglecting my beneficiall studyes, for the King's service: but I only thinke I merit not to sterve. I never apply'd myselfe to any interest contrary to your Lordship's; and on some occasions, perhaps not known

9 This letter is printed from a copy transmitted some years ago by Mr. John Elderton to the editor of the Gentleman's Magazine. Mr. Elderton supposed that it was written in 1673-4; but Butler being spoken of as dead, that could not be the date; for that poet died in Septem ber, 1680. The superscription has not been preserved; but it was doubtless addressed to Laurence Hyde, (second son of Lord Clarendon,) who was made First Commissioner of the Treasury in 1679, and continued Prime Minister till Sept. 1684. He was created Lord Hyde in April, 1681, and Earl of Rochester in Nov. 1682. Early in 1683, our author dedicated to him THE DUKE OF GUISE, and in 1692, his CLEOMENES.

[ocr errors]

to you, have not been unserviceable to the memory and reputation of my Lord, your father.' After this, my Lord, my conscience assures me I may write boldly, though I cannot speake to you. I have three sonns growing to man's estate; I breed them all up to learning, beyond my fortune; but they are too hopefull to be neglected, though I want. Be pleased to looke on me with an eye of compassion: some small employment would render my condition easy. The King is not unsatisfied of me; the Duke has often promised me his assistance; and your Lordship is the conduit through which their favours passe: either in the Customes, or the Appeals of the Excise, or some other way, meanes cannot be wanting, if you please to have the will. "Tis enough for one age to have neglected Mr. Cowley, and sterv'd Mr. Butler; but neither of them had the happiness to live till your Lordship's ministry. In the meane time, be pleased to give me a gracious and speedy answer to my present request of halfe a yeare's pention for my necessityes. I am going to write somewhat by his Majesty's command,'

[ocr errors]

Edward, Earl of Clarendon. The work or passages here alluded to, I have not been able to discover.

* The place which our author here solicits, (worth only £.200. a year,) was the first office that Addison obtained, which he used to call "the little thing given me by Lord Halifax." Locke also, after the Revolution, was a Commissioner of Appeals.

Probably THE HISTORY OF THE LEAGUE, which was entered on the Stationers' Books early in 1684, and is there said to have been "Englished by his Majesties express command."

« PreviousContinue »