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like, appears to have migrated from place to place along the banks of the Thames. “Out of haste,” says Spratt, in his Life of Cowley, “to be gone out of the tumult and noise of the city, he had not prepared so healthful a situation as he might have done, if he had made a more leisurable choice. Of this he soon began to feel the inconvenience at Barn-Elms, where he was afflicted by a dangerous and lingering fever. He afterwards removed to Chertsey, where he died.” In the grounds of Barn-Elms is a rustic temple to the memory of this exquisite poet and amiable man. Henry Fielding the novelist, and Handel the composer, resided at Barnes for a time. Beale, well known in connexion with the fate of the unfortunate
Mary Queen of Scots, with the warrant for whose execution he was despatched to Fotheringay, where he read the fatal instrument upon the scaffold, was buried at Barnes. “ He was a man,” says Camden, “ of a most impetuous and morose disposition,” and probably the fittest man who could be found to go upon so infamous an errand. The Right Hon. Sir Lancelot Shadwell, Vice-Chancellor of England, is the present occupant of Barn-Elms.
MORTLAKE, a little higher, also upon the Surrey side, next obtrudes upon the view, demanding a brief notice.
The manor of Mortlake belonged to Westminster Abbey before the Conquest, confirmed by a charter of Edward the Confessor. A considerable part of the parish is enclosed in Richmond Great Park. The Archbishops of Canterbury had a palace and occasionally resided here, until the alienation of the manor to Henry VIII. by Archbishop Cranmer. Sir John, father of
the celebrated Sir William Temple, Master of the Rolls in Ireland, was buried at Mortlake.
Sir Francis Crane, under the patronage of James I., and encouraged by Charles, Prince of Wales, established a manufactory of tapestry on an extensive scale at Mortlake, about 1619.
There is extant a letter from Crane, addressed to King James, complaining of non-payment of debts owing to him by the King and Buckingham, and making mention of 3001. expended by him for certain drawings as designs for tapestry, made originally for Pope Leo X. by Raphael d’Urbino, the subject being the Twelve Months of the year. In the first year of Charles's reign, Crane received a pension of 10001. a year.
Rubens has the merit of having mentioned the existence of the Cartoons now at Hampton Court to Charles I., and having advised him to purchase them for the use of his tapestry weavers at Mortlake.
John Barber, printer, Alderman and Lord Mayor of London, known in connexion with Lord Bolingbroke, Pope, and more especially Swift, was buried here, where is the following inscription to his memory : “Under this stone are laid the remains of John Barber, Esq., Alderman of London, a constant benefactor to the poor, true to his principles in church and state. He preserved his integrity and discharged the duty of an upright magistrate in the most corrupt times. Zealous for the rights of his fellow-citizens, he opposed all attempts against them; and being Lord Mayor in the year 1733, was greatly instrumental in defeating a scheme of a general excise, which, had it succeeded, would have put an end to the liberties of his country.”
It is a melancholy, and to the nation rather degrading circumstance, that the immortal author of Hudibras should have been indebted for a memorial to the munificence of Barber the printer; and that the place where repose the remains of the great John Milton should have been unmarked with a stone until rescued from the herd of vulgar graves by the brewer Whitbread.
At Mortlake is also buried the patriotic Sir John Barnard, immortalised by Pope in the same couplet with the Man of Ross. It is mentioned, as an instance of his modesty, that he never could be induced to enter the Royal Exchange after his statue was placed there. Partridge, the astrologer, quack, almanack-maker, and physician to Charles II. and William and Mary, who, in spite of all his asseverations to the contrary, was put to death so mercilessly by Swift in the Tatler, and whose unceasing exertions to convince the public that he was yet alive even now amuse every
reader, was at last, in point of fact, buried at Mortlake, where he rests from his labours, and his works have followed him. The extraordinary conjuror and supposed magician, Dr. Dee, a man of considerable learning, varied abilities, and no ordinary talents, although tainted with the scientific empiricism of the age in which he lived, resided and died here. Dee was a great favourite of Queen Elizabeth, who often went to his house to consult him, and have peeps at futurity. When he was sick, the queen ordered her own physicians to attend him, “sent him divers rarities to eat, and the Honourable Lady Sidney to attend on him and comfort him with divers speeches from her majesty, pithy and gracious.” In concert with two other knaves, Dee pretended to carry on conversations with spirits by means of a show-stone, which he averred was given him by an angel. One, who acted as seer, reported what spirits he saw, and what they said ; whilst Dee, who sat at a table, reported the spiritual intelligence. A folio volume of their notes was published by Casaubon; and many more, containing the most unintelligible jargon, remain in MS. in the British Museum, together with the consecrated cakes of wax, marked with mathematical figures and hieroglyphics, used in these mummeries. The show-stone, which is a round piece of volcanic glass finely polished, was in the far-famed collection formed by the late Earl of Orford at Strawberry Hill. The mob, who had been always prejudiced against him as a magician, broke into his house, destroying his chemical apparatus, a fine quadrant, and a magnet, which he valued at large sums before commissioners appointed by the queen to hear his grievances. Upon this report, the queen “willed the Lady Howard to write some words of comfort to his wife, and send some friendly tokens besides.” He was at length made Chancellor of St. Paul's and Warden of Manchester; whence, having quarrelled with the Fellows, he returned to Mortlake. As illustrations of the ignorance and superstition of the age, we may observe, that Dee was employed to determine, according to the opinion of the ancient astrologers, what day would be most fortunate for Queen Elizabeth's coronation. Some time afterwards he was sent for by the lords of the council to counteract the ill effects which it was apprehended would befal the queen from a waxen image of her majesty, stuck full of pins, which was picked up in Lincoln's Inn Fields. This, we are told, he performed “in a godly and artificial manner,” in the presence of the Earl of Leicester and Mr. Secretary Wilson.
After all his tricks and conjurations, Dee died, as may be supposed, in
miserable circumstances, having been so poor in the latter part of his life as to be obliged to sell his library piecemeal for subsistence.
Kew, from a remote period a royal residence, is the next point of interest as we proceed in our voyage up the river. The scenery about Kew has had the advantage of an elegant compliment from the pen of Goldsmith, in an ode upon the death of the Princess Dowager of Wales, mother of George III.
“Fast by that shore where Thames' translucent stream
Reflects new glories on his breast ;
He forms a scene beyond Elysium blest;
From China borrows aid to deck the scene."
Kew House or Palace, for many years the occasional residence of his late Majesty George III., formerly belonged to the Capel family; and even in
their day the gardens were celebrated for the rarity of their shrubs and fruits. Molyneux the astronomer was for a time the possessor of Kew, in right of his wife, the Lady Elizabeth Capel. Dr. Bradley's discovery of the parallax of the fixed stars is said to have been made with an instrument of Molyneux’s construction. The pleasure-grounds, notwithstanding the disadvantage of a flat surface, are laid out with much taste, and exhibit a considerable variety of prospect. They are ornamented with a ridiculous profusion of temples, grottoes, artificial ruins, imitative mosques and pagodas, by Sir William Chambers, in the very worst taste. The architect published a tedious account of his expensive trumpery. A Chinese pagoda, forty-nine feet in diameter at the base, and one hundred and sixty-three feet in height, is a conspicuous object. The greenhouse is of large dimensions. The Exotic, or, as it is called, Botanic Garden, was established in 1760 by the Princess Dowager of Wales. A catalogue of the plants contained therein has been published by the gardener, Mr. William Aiton, under the title of Hortus K ewensis. In the year 1803 the gardens of Richmond were united with those of Kew.
The Botanical Garden and Arboretum are open to the public daily, from one to three, all the year, Sundays excepted.
The pleasure-grounds are open from Midsummer till the beginning of October, on Sundays and Thursdays, from noon till sunset.
In the chapel at Kew is a monument to the memory of Meyer, a native of Germany, a famous painter in enamel and miniatures. In the Churchyard, near the schoolhouse door, lies Gainsborough the painter, one of the most original and successful masters of the British school, whose merit Sir Joshua Reynolds has worthily recorded in his immortal “ Discourses.”
Gainsborough was born at Sudbury, in Suffolk, in 1727, and had the good fortune to take Nature for his mistress in art, and her to follow through life. Respecting Gainsborough, memory is still strong in his native place. A beautiful wood of four miles' extent is shown, whose ancient trees, winding glades and sunny nooks, inspired him, while yet a schoolboy, with the love of art.
Scenes are pointed out where he used to sit and fill his copy-books with pencillings of flowers and trees, and whatever pleased his fancy. No fine clump of trees, no picturesque stream nor romantic glade, no cattle grazing nor flocks reposing, nor peasants pursuing their work, nor pastoral occupations, escaped his diligent pencil. With these tastes, and this education, it is not wonderful that Gainsborough should have succeeded in the profession which he loved. He received some instruction from Gravelot, and from Hayman, the friend of Hogarth. Having married, he settled in Ipswich ; but in the thirty-first year of his age removed to Bath, where he was appreciated as he deserved, and was enabled by his pencil to live respectably.