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pamphlet to the Committee of Examinations. On the

that committee were directed to send for Wither, and to inquire into the truth of his allegations. The following extract from the Journal of the House of Commons for the 7th of August, 1646, will not be uninteresting:

"Mr. TVhittacre reports the state of the examinations concerning pamphlet written and published by Mr. George Withers, intituled Justiciarius Justificatus; and concerning a practice informed of in Mr. Withers, and one Mr. Andrewes Burrell, of accusing Sir Richard Onslow that he sent monies to the King at Oxon; and the several eraminations, and the instances and inferences out of them, were all read by the Reporter.

sring further time to prove what he suggested in his

GEORGE WITHER.

4th of May, Mr. Whittacre and some other members of

"The bumble petition of George Wither was read, de

According to Wood, our poet was, at the time of this debate, in prison for the libel; and he afterwards asserted that he knew nothing of the impeachment until he was startled by the news of the conviction. The accusation, he says, in the Fragmenta Prophetica, was brought on early in the morning, but so many members “abominated what they perceived to be intended, that the whole day was spent, before the author's enemies could prevail against him." That he had many friends in the House is proved by the small majority; and it may be remarked that Lieutenant General Cromwell was “ Teller for the Noe.” After a confinement of nearly twelve months, he was released without “petitioning or mediation for it," and, we may conclude, without paying the fine.

His imprisonment neither taught him discretion, nor improved his fortunes.

Much of the disquiet which imbittered so many years of his life, was occasioned by the difficulty he experienced in obtaining compensation for the plunder of his estate by the Royalists, and the liquidation of the debt due to him from the Parliament. A great portion of his time was wasted in fruitless attendance upon various Com. mittees. On one petition, he tells us, he bestowed two months; on another, ten; and on a third, a year and nine months. Milton, in a passage supposed to refer to his own sufferings, bitterly complained that the truest friends of the republic, after having afforded the aid of their labours and fortunes, were tossed from one Com. mittee to another with petitions in their hands.

The various methods employed by Wither to attract the notice of Parliament were very ingenious. On the 12th of November, 1646, he placed an humble memoran.

book

Another bumble petition of George Wither was read,
expressing his sorrow for his error in transgressing against
the privileges of this House."

It having been resolved that the reflections upon
Onslow in the Justiciarius Justificatus were unfounded,

false and scandalous,' the question was propounded,
that Mr. George Wither should pay unto Sir Richard
Onslow the sum of five hundred pounds for his damages."

The question being put, the House divided, and there appeared for the question 65; against it 54; leaving a majority of 11 in favour of the fine.

It was then resolved, That the book called Justi. riarius Justificatus shall be burned at Kingston upon Thames, and at Guildford, upon the market days there, or the Marshal attending the Committee at Kingston aforesaid."

dum in the hands of several members as they entered the House. It was in these words :

Sir,

Mind your faithful servant; for my need
Requires compassion, and deserveth heed.
Though I have many rivals at your door,

Vouchsafe me justice, and I'll ask no more.
His efforts were not altogether ineffectual.

On the 15th of March, 1647, an order was agreed to by the Lords and Commons, for payment of 18001. out of Discoveries at Haberdashers' Hall; and on the 22nd of the same month, a further order was made for the payment of 16811. 158. 8d. out of the Excise. Nothing, however, was gained by these orders, which do not seem to have been ever enforced, and the House was at length induced to appoint some "selected members" to provide him with a temporary employment until his claims could be adjusted. When he published his si' Quis *, in 1648, he stood recommended to a situation of considerable value, which he does not appear to have obtained.

About this time, he says, when he was living upon the charity of friends, “God providentially, beyond his hope, enabled him to purchase a considerable estate, by means of their acting against him who thereby intended their own benefit and his ruin;" and the Parliament also sold him a Manor, worth 3001. per annum, in consideration of his debt of 16001. and more by him paid." I suppose the property alluded to belonged to the See of Win

• Weaver, in his Life and Death of Sir John Oldcastle, says, " Set up a Si Quis, give intelligence." A Si Quis was formerly a term for what we now call a hand-bill.-Brit. Bib., vol. I, p. 314.

I'll fix a Si Quis (or it may be mo)
Upon the postern gate before I go.

Wither's Perpetual Parliament, p. 72.

dum in the hands of several members as they entered

Mind your faithful servant; for my need

Though I have many rivals at your door,

His efforts were not altogether ineffectual. On the 15th of March, 1617, an order was agreed to by the Lords and Commons, for payment of 18001. out of Dis. coveries at Haberdashers' Hall; and on the 22nd of the to appoint some "selected members" to provide him with a temporary employment until his claims could be adjusted. When he published his si' Quis *, in 1648, he stood recommended to a situation of considerable value,

About this time, he says, when he was living upon the charity of friends, "God providentially, beyond his hope,

of 16812 158. 84, out of the Excise. Nothing, bowever,

enabled him to purchase a considerable estate, by means

own benefit and his ruin;" and the Parliament also sold

pose the property alluded to belonged to the See of Win

w low call a hand-bill.-Brit. Bib., vol. I, p. 314.

159

GEORGE WITHER.

the House I was in these words :

Sit,

Requires compassion, and desertech heed.

Vouchsałe me justice, and I'll ask no more.

same month, a further order was made for the payment was gained by these orders, which do not seem to have heen ever enforced, and the House was at length induced

chester. Wither's purchases of church-lands are detailed in Gale's History of Winchester Cathedral :

The Manor of North Walton, in Hampshire, sold to George Wither and Thomas Allen, July 5, 1648, for 9641. 138. 6d.

The Manor of Bentley and Alverstock, and Borough of Gosport, sold to George Wither and Elizabeth his wife, for 11851. 45. 5 d., September 25, 1648.

The Manor of Itchinswell and Northampton Farm, sold to Nicholas Love and George Wither, for 17561. 9s. 1d., September 28, 1648.

The Manor of Hantden, sold to George Wither for 37961. 185. 11d., March 23, 1650.

Misfortunes still followed him : the “estate was lost again," and the Manor, after he had "enjoyed it awhile," was resold by the Parliament to a member of their own, who pretended to have a mortgage upon it, and the poet was ejected by a Suit in Law," without any satisfaction for the loss of his purchase-money, and was even compelled to pay the expenses of the suit, with other charges, amounting to several hundred pounds.

His calls for relief, however, were not entirely disregarded. In 1619, a few members of Parliament, “without his seeking," endeavoured to provide bim with some occupation in order to satisfy his “just demands," and he acknowledged their kindness in A Thankful Retribution. The office which they sought, unsuccessfully, to procure, seems tɔ have been that of Register in the Court of Chancery. Instead of this, Park thinks he was appointed one of the Commissioners for levying assessments in Surrey, as appears from the Usurpation Acts of 1649-50. A gentleman of the name of Lloyd possessed a certificate, attested by Wither on the 10th of December, 1651, while acting under this Commission, and entitled, “The report of Colonel John Humphreys, and Major George Wither,

which he does not appear to have obtained.

of their acting against him who thereby intended their

hims Manor, worth 3001. per annum, in consideration pubis debt of 16001. and more by him paid." I sup

Weaver, in his Life and Death of Sir John Oldcastle, says, "Set up si quis, give intelligence." A Si Quis was formerly a term for what

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I'll fix a Si Quis (or it may be mo)
Upon the postern gate before I go.

Wither's Perpetual Parliament, p. 72.

touching the demands and accounts of M. René Angie made

upon a reference to them by the Committee for tl sale of the King's goods.” M. Angier had been ager in France both for the King and the Parliament.

In 1649, the poet hailed the victory of General Jon in Dublin over the troops of the Marquis of Ormon with a Thank-Oblation, which occupies six quarto page This ode of gratulation is alluded to in one of the p riodicals of the day. “At Westminster they are very laz and have done very little more of public concernmen but as it appears, George Withers has been very mu busied in composing a Hymn of Praises for their gre achievement and victory against Ormond, which he pi sented most of the members with on Thursday last, hopes they would have sung it the day after, being t thanksgiving day appointed *."

We have already seen that the orders made for Withe relief were productive of no benefit to hiin, and on t 2nd of January, 1650, a Report upon his case was livered to the House by Colonel Dove, from which appeared that 39581. 158. 8d., with interest, were th due. The Report recommended that for the 168 charged upon the Excise, eight per cent. should be pa every six months; and that for the remainder of t sum of 39581. the Manor of Little Horksley, in Esse should be settled on Wither and his heirs. This esta which was valued by the sequestrators at a yearly re of 2401., formed a part of the inheritance of Sir Jo Denham, whom the Report calls the poet's " chief plu derer." Colonel Dove's suggestions were only partia adopted. The 16811. were secured, according to 1 recommendation of the Report, upon the Excise; b

• Mercurius Elencticus, Monday, August 27, to September 3, 1649

M

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