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1615. But the prophecies were vague enough ; very different from the predictions of the royalist almanacs, which promised the king a speedy triumph over all his enemies. Indeed the sanguine hopes entertained by Charles and his adherents up to the very eve of the battle of Naseby, seem almost as though intended to lure him on to his overthrow. "I am now full fraught with expectations, he writes to the queen at the end of March ; ‘our army marches to-morrow to put an end to Fairfax's excellency,' is his next despatch in April. In May: 'thank God, my affairs begin to smile upon me again ;' even on the 9th of June, only five days before the triumphant victory of Naseby, he exults that without 'being too much sanguine, I may affirm that since this rebellion 'my affairs were never in so fair and hopeful a way!' No wonder Captain George Wharton, in addition to the earlier prognostications of his Loyal Almanac, set forth, on May 7, 1645, An Astrological Judgment upon his Majesty's present march from Oxford, in which, after much jargon of 'Taurus culminating, and dragon's head near the cuspe ascending,' he bids the poor deluded king go forth, 'for it is apparent to every impartial judgment, that although his Majesty cannot be expected to be secured from “ every trivial disaster that may befal his army, yet, the several ‘junctions of the Houses duly considered and compared, do generally render his Majesty and his whole army unexpectedly * victorious and successful in all his designes. And with what full assurance of faith did plumed cavalier and red-coated trooper march out from vanquished Leicester to chastise the rebels who had dared to lay siege even to that especial Aula regis, Oxford, when the king, and the king's own astrologer, had both so unfalteringly assured them of victory. And how, after the proud fight of Naseby, did the exulting Parliament army scoff at Captain George Wharton and his unlucky prediction, he who, like 'Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah,' had bidden the deluded monarch 'gu up to Ramoth Gilead and prosper,' that monarch who was now a fugitive none knew whither.
Meanwhile, even until within two days of the fight, Lilly was silent; then he probably began his answer to Wharton, but there is little doubt that news of the victory had been received ere his Answer to an Astrological Judgment went to press, This he dates June 12th, and as it was doubtless widely circulated as soon as rumours of the victory reached London, we doubt not but his credulous admirers firmly believed the date to be a true one, and that the wondrous prophet had received supernatural notice of the battle forty-eight hours before it had been gained. This little tract, of about four pages, is written with some humour. 'He is * none of his Majesty's friends that gave directions for this
A Visit to Windsor, and its Consequences.
'march,' he remarks, as the sequel will tell you, ere you return 'to your winter-quarters—if any be left you. ** 'Face about, “gentlemen,' says one, 'for our honour,' as you faced about at ' Newbury, with a good pair of heels. He is very sarcastic too, upon the poor Captain, and more than hints that his knowledge of the stars, and of arms, are equally worthless.
From henceforward Lilly was actually a person of political importance, and when three years after he published An Astrological Prediction for the three coming Years, he dedicated it boldly to the right honourable the knights, citizens, and burgesses of the House of Commons,' addressing them as 'Unwearied Sirs, and expressing the gratitude of the nation to them. In his opening remarks, he rather prettily says, ' Some years since, God called ' me from a happy contemplative life, sufficiently pleasing to my quiet genius, being content with an angle in my hand, a booke in my study, a flower in my garden ;' but his duty (!) directed him to London, and he dared not resist. Lilly, however, did not always continue in favour with the Parliament. On one occasion a passage in one of his almanacs was construed into a reflection upon the Commissioners of Excise, and he was brought before a committee of the House. The shrewd astrologer having several friends amoug the members managed to escape punishment; and it being well known that he was friendly to the army he was carried with a coach and four horses' to Windsor, where the head-quarters then were. Here he and Booker were 'welcomed thither, and feasted in a garden where General Fairfax lodged.' They were then introduced to him, and the following curious
colloquy passed between them
“The general, in effect, said thus much.-" That God had blessed the army with many signal victories, and yet their work was not finished. He hoped God would go along with them until His work was done. They sought not themselves, but the welfare and tranquillity of the good people and whole nation. As for the art we studied, he hoped it was lawful and agreeable to God's word: he understood it not; but doubted not but we both feared God, and therefore had a good opinion of us both.'
* Unto his speech I presently made this reply.—My lord, I am glad to see you here at this time. Certainly, both the people of God, and all others of this nation, are very sensible of God's mercy, love, and favour unto them in directing the Parliament to nominate and elect you general of their armies, a person so religious and so valiant .. Sir, as for ourselves, we trust in God, and as Christians believe in him. We do not study any art but what is lawful and consonant to the Scriptures, fathers, and antiquity, which we humbly desire you to believe.''
*The Scriptures, fathers, and antiquity'-glibly enough does the
cunning astrologer, whose youth was spent as serving-man to old Gilbert White, of Fleet Market, enumerate these. But Lilly knew that assumption of superior knowledge was necessary to the almanac-maker, and therefore he would have boldly asserted his knowledge of Chinese itself, if his plan had required it. They then took leave, and went to visit Mr. Peters, the minister, who lodged in the castle.' He was reading a new pamphlet. 'Lilly, thou art ' herein,' said he. “Are not you there also ?' I replied. “Yes, 'that I am,' quoth he,' and forthwith, little heeding the abuse of pamphleteers, they fell into conference, and much private discourse. Alas! little did the Parliament foresee the results of that coach-and-four journey, and that feasting in the garden; above all, that conference with Hugh Peters. From henceforward, the stars looked with but sinister aspect upon their deliberations, and the most valiant and religious army' became the object of the most favourable astral influences. It seems astonishing to us, to perceive how important a part Lilly and Booker took in political affairs. During the siege of Colchester, they were sent down expressly to encourage the soldiers that the town would very shortly be surrendered ; and while Charles still placed reliance on Captain Wharton's predictions--we wonder he did so after that terrible blunder of Naseby-he certainly cast a longing eye towards the astrologer of the Roundheads. When meditating his escape from Hampton Court, he actually sent a Mrs. Whorwood to request a prediction. Lilly was not likely to refuse any service that might be well paid ; perhaps, too, he thought, like some others, that there would be less trouble in allowing the king to slip quietly away, than in detaining him, so he' erected a figure,' and gave his judgment that the king might be safe if he went eastward. But Charles meanwhile had fled to the west, and, as the reader knows, the result was his re-capture and ultimate death.
Not a hint of Lilly's double-dealing seems to have reached the Parliament; still they felt displeased with him, and no wonder, for in his next almanac he prophesied that 'the Parliament stood
in a tottering condition, and that the commonalty and soldiery * would join together against them ;' a prediction correct enough, but only too early by a year or two. Aguin he was summoned before the honourable House,' but having timely notice, the cunning knave “presently sent for Mr. Warren, the printer, an assured Cavalier, and obliterated what was most offensive, put in other more significant words, and desired only to have six amended copies against next morning, which very honestly he brought me. I told him my design was
An Astrologer's Management-its Success. 357 to deny the book found fault with, and own only the six books. I told him I doubted he would be examined.' 'Hang them,' said he,
they are all rogues; I'll swear myself to the devil ere they shall have an advantage against you, by my oath.'
So the precious pair next day made their appearance, prepared to swear through thick and thin; Lilly declaring that some malicious Presbyterian' had written the offending almanac, and laying the 'amended copies on the table, as the only books he would own. The committee were much puzzled, --counterfeit almanacs were very common, and party rage ran so high, that Lilly's explanation did not seem so very improbable; so a long discussion ensued, curious enough for the recognition of the respectable standing-almost authorized standing-of the almanac-maker. “You do not know the services this man hath *done for the Parliament, or how many times in our greatest dis* tresses he hath refreshed our languishing expectations,' urges a Mr. Reynolds ; 'I assure you his writings have kept up the
spirits both of the soldiery, the honest people of this nation, and • many of us Parliament men.' 'I assure you his name is famous all over Europe,' said Mr. Strickland, the late minister at the Hague. Notwithstanding the efforts of his friends, Lilly was ordered into custody of the Serjeant-at-Arms. Just then, ‘Oliver Cromwell, Lieutenant-General of the army, having never seen me, caused me to be produced again, when he steadfastly beheld 'me for a good space, and then I went with the messenger.' That steadfast look is a very characteristic trait, and leads us to believe that, excepting some occasional exaggerations, Lilly's autobiography is worthy of credit. “That night, Oliver Cromwell 'went to MĪr. Reynolds. What,' said he, . never a man to take
Lilly's cause in hand but yourself? none take his part but you ?' No wonder Lilly soon after perceived that the stars looked with no common favour on the Lieutenant-general.
As the Parliament found they could no longer depend upon Merlinus Anglicus as heretofore, Vincent Wing seems to have tried to occupy Lilly's place. His almanac, therefore, became full of laudations of the Parliament and Presbyterianism, interspersed with very bitter predictions against the sectaries; while Merlinus saw more wondrous things than ever in store for our most valinnt and self-denying army. Meanwhile, Captain Wharton, undeterred by repeated failures, still prophesied the restoration of Church and King, comforting himself under his disappointments by consigning Parliament and army most heartily to the tender mercies of that personage whose nid was so frequently invoked by the Cavaliers. But the star of Charles' ascendant had set, never
to rise again, and the army was triumphant over King and Parliament. Great is the exultation of Merlinus thereat. In respect to the events of 1619, Lilly is singularly guarded ; but, for 1650, he speaks out, and actually
stumbles upon some prophecies which are very near the truth. Thus, for June, “the Scot is now ele'vated, and seems to swell with very uncertain assurances of aid 'from various parts to annoy us.' This is a curious prediction, when we remember that, on the 16th, Charles II. landed in Scotland. For July, the prediction is, 'the Scot hath a mind to be troublesome; come not among us, Jocky; and doubtless often was this defiance repeated by the Parliament soldiers, when, at the close of that very month, they crossed the Tweed. The prediction for August is more curious still. Let the attempt be 'made against us by Scot or devil, we shall keep our own, and ‘have victory over all invaders. We have been told that, on the day of one of their fights in Scotland, a soldier stood, with Anglicus in his hand, and, as the several troops passed by him, *cried, 'Lo! hear what Lilly saith ; you are in this month pro‘mised victory; fight it out, brave boys; and then he read that 'month's prediction. It was doubtless the one just quoted ; and although August had just passed-only by three days—that confident prophecy of complete victory was well fitted to nerve the arm of the Parliament soldier at the gallant fight of Dunbar.
Not so successful in his predictions was Lilly, the following year,—the stars gave him no presage of that 'crowning mercy the battle of Worcester. For January, 1652, he, however, makes an allusion that proves he was well acquainted with state affairs. ‘High mountains are now in strong travail, nascetur tandem a new representative. Now, it was just about this time that Cromwell held that conference with Whitelock, in which he urged the expediency of the supreme power being placed in the hands of one person. We have little doubt, therefore, that the prediction was thrown out as a feeler. In Lilly's subsequent almanacs, there is little worth notice. We find him, however, still keeping exclusively to predictions of public affairs, leaving Vincent Wing to foretell that, about this time several mutations will happen 'to all sorts of people; also, about the middle of this month, ex‘pect pains in the teeth ;' and Neve and Wodehouse to provide, as usual, tables of the wholesomes and unwholesomes. But that, during the Protectorate, he followed very successfully the profession of an intelligencer, there is little doubt; although, in his autobiography, he represents himself as merely 'giving judgment on stolen goods,' and such like; but could we discover Secretary Thurloe's private memoranda, among that crowd of intelligencers who brought to the great ruler of England news of