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BULSTRODE WHITELOCKE, the famous lawyer, politician, and writer of memoirs, was the son of sir James Whitelocke, knight, and born 1605, in Fleet-street, London. He was initiated in grammatical learning at Merchant Taylors' school; whence he removed, in 1620, to St. John's College, Oxford, of which Laud, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, was then president.
He left college without a degree, and became a student of the Middle Temple. In the beginning of the long parliament, he was chosen a burgess for Marlow, in Buckinghamshire, and was chairman of the committee for drawing up the charge against the earl of Strafford, and one of the managers at his trial. In 1642-3, he was nominated one of the commissioners to treat of peace with the king, at Oxford; and had a similar commission in 1644.
The same year he apprised Cromwell, that the earl of Essex designed to accuse him as an incendiary; for which friendly office he obtained the favour and confidence of that usurper. The year following, he was appointed one of the commissioners of the admiralty, in which situation he was suspected of holding correspondence with the royalists; but the suspicion, it seems, was unfounded. In 1646, he was sent for by Fairfax, when laying siege to Oxford, to be one of his council of war; on which occasion he expressed great reluctance to come to extremity with the university, and proposed an accommodation with the garrison. In 1647-8, he was made one of the four commissioners of the great seal; and soon after, attorney of the duchy of Lancaster. In December of the same year, he retired to the country, that he may have no hand in the king's trial.
He was constituted, in 1648-9, keeper of the king's library and medals. His own account of this appointment is worth transcribing, as it shows how narrowly we escaped the entire loss. of those valuable collections*. "Being informed (says he) of a design in some to have them sold and transported beyond sea, which I
* Memorials, p. 415.
thought would be a dishonour and damage to our nation, and to all scholars therein; and fearing that in other hands they might be more subject to embezzling; and being willing to preserve them for public use, I did accept of the trouble of being library keeper at St. James's, and therein was encouraged and much persuaded to it by Mr. Selden, who swore that if I did not undertake the charge of them, all those rare monuments of antiquity, those choice books and MSS. would be lost; and there were not the like of them, except only in the Vatican, in any other library in Christendom." Whitelocke afterwards went ambassador to Sweden; became one of the commissioners of the exchequer; was chosen, in 1656, speaker of the House of Commons pro tempore ; and the year following was summoned by the protector to sit in the upper house, by the title of Bulstrode, lord Whitelocke. In 1659, he was made president of the council of state, one of the committee of safety, and keeper of the great seal pro tempore. The same year, however, he withdrew to the country, from an apprehension of being sent to the Tower by the rump parliament, then newly restored, and continued there, chiefly at Chilton, in Wilt
shire, for the remainder of his life. He died in 1675-6.
1. The work for which chiefly posterity is indebted to Whitelocke, is his "Memorials of the English Affairs; or an Historical Account of what passed from the Beginning of the Reign of King Charles the First to King Charles the Second his happy Restoration; containing the Public Transactions, Civil and Military, together with the private Consultations and Se crets of the Cabinet." Folio. It was first published in 1682; but the second edition, in 1732, contains many additions, and a better index. The editor of the first edition observes in his preface" Our author sometimes writes up to the dignity of an historian, and elsewhere is content barely to set down occurrences diary-wise, without melting down or refining the ore, and improving those hints and rudiments to the perfection and true standard of an history. The truth is, our author never intended this for a book in print; nor meant otherwise by it than as a book for his memory and private use. Yet such was his relation to the public, so eminent his station, and so much was he upon the stage during all the time of action, that the particulars of his diary go
Welch parson, who had lately come to London from Leicestershire, where he had prac tised his craft many years. The first specimen Lilly gave of his skill in his new art, was a prophecy that the king had chosen an unlucky horoscope for his coronation in Scotland,1633. In 1634, getting possession of a MS. with some alterations of the " Ars Notoria" of Cornelius Agrippa, he imbibed with great eagerness the doctrine of the magical circle, and the invocation of spirits, adopted a form of prayer therein prescribed to the angel Salmonæus, and soon came to flatter himself that he was the particular favorite of that uncreated phantom. He likewise boasted a familiar acquaintance with the peculiar guardian angels of England, named Salmael and Malchidael. Having purchased some other astrological books, which had been found on pulling down the house of another astrologer, he entered. still more deeply into the science.
His subsequent connections with the parliament party, whose interests he espoused, are known from general history, and strongly mark the superstition of the times. Charles I. himself consulted him, to know where he should conceal himself, if he could escape