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THOROWGOOD,. The Merchant.
.Servant to Millwood.
Servant to Thorowgood.
MARIA,.......Daughter to Thorowgood.
Officers with their Attendants and Footmen.
Scene, London, and an adjacent Village.
SCENE I. A Room in Thorogood's House.
Trueman. Sir, the packet from Genoa is arrived. [Gives letters.
Thor. Heaven be praised! The storm that threatened our royal mistress, pure religion, liberty, and laws, is for a time diverted. The haughty and revengeful Spaniard, disappointed of the loan on which he depended from Genoa, must now attend the slow return of wealth from his new world, to supply his empty coffers, ere he can execute his proposed invasion of our happy island. By this means time is gain'd to make such preparations on our part, as may, Heaven concurring, prevent his malice, or turn the meditated mischief on himself.
True. He must be insensible indeed, who is not affected when the safety of his country is concerned. Sir, may I know by what means?- -If I am not too
Thor. Your curiosity is laudable; and I gratify it with the greater pleasure, because from thence you may learn, how honest merchants, as such, may sometimes contribute to the safety of their country, as they do at all times to its happiness; that if, hereafter, you should be tempted to any action that has the appearance of vice or meanness in it, upon reflecting on the dis ty of our profession you may, with honest scorn, reject whatever is unworthy of it.
True. Should Barnwell, or I, who have the benefit of your example, by our ill conduct bring any imputation on that honourable name, we must be left without
Thor. You compliment, young man. [Trueman bows respectfully.] Nay, I am not offended. As the name of merchant never degrades the gentleman, so by no means does it exclude him; only take heed not to purchase the character of complaisant at the expence of your sincerity. But to answer your question: the bank of Genoa was solicited to advance, at an excessive interest, and on good security, to the king of Spain a sum of money sufficient to equip his vast armada; of which our peerless Elizabeth (more than in name the mother of her people) being well informed, sent Walsingham, her wise and faithful secretary, to consult the merchants of this loyal city; who all agreed to direct their several agents to influence, if possible, the Genoese to break off the negociation with the Spanish court. 'Tis done: the state and bank of Genoa having maturely weighed, and rightly judged of their true interest, prefer the friendship of the merchants of London to that of the monarch who proudly styles himself king of both Indies.
True. Happy success of prudent counsels! What an expence of blood and treasure is here sav'd! Excellent ( queen! O how unlike the princes who make the danger of foreign enemies a pretence to oppress their subjects " by taxes great, and grievous to be borne!
Thor. Not so our gracious queen, whose richest Exchequer is her people's love, as their happiness her 6 greatest glory.
True. On these terms to defend us, is to make our protection a benefit worthy of her who confers it, and 'well worth our acceptance.'* Sir, have you any commands for me at this time!
* This conversation between Thorowgood and Trueman fixes the era of the play to the reign of Queen Elizabeth; and yet, whenever I have seen it acted, and in all the prints I have seen of performers in it, they have always been dressed in the costume of the time in which it has been performed. This is evidently an incongruity. But, it is
Thor. Only to look carefully over the files, to see whether there are any tradesmen's bills unpaid; and if there are, send and discharge them. We must not let artificers lose their time, so useful to the public and their families, in unnecessary attendance. [Exit Trueman.
Well, Maria, have you given orders for the entertainment? I would have it in some measure worthy the guests. Let there be plenty, and of the best, that the courtiers, though they should deny us citizens polite" ness,' may at least commend our hospitality.
Mar. Sir, I have endeavoured not to wrong your well-known generosity by an ill-timed parsimony.
Thor. Nay, 'twas a needless caution: I have no cause to doubt your prudence.
Mar. Sir, I find myself unfit for conversation at present; I should but increase the number of the company without adding to their satisfaction.
Thor. Nay, my child, this melancholy must not be indulged.
Mar. Company will but increase it: I wish you would dispense with my absence. Solitude best suits my present temper.
Thor. You are not insensible that it is chiefly on your account these noble lords do me the honour so frequently to grace my board. Should you be absent, the disappointment may make them repent their condescension, and think their labour lost. .
Mar. He that shall think his time or honour lost in visiting you, can set no real value on your daughter's company, whose only merit is, that she is yours. The man of quality who chooses to converse with a gentleman and merchant of your worth and character, may confer honour by so doing, but he loses none.
better, perhaps, that the costume of the present day should always be preserved to bring the story more home to the business and the bosoms of the audience. The conversation is good and gives an interest and reality to the piece; but I think it may better be spared than the conversation between the same characters at the beginning of the third act.
Thor. Come, come, Maria, I need not tell you, that a young gentleman may prefer your conversation to mine, and yet intend me no disrespect at all: for though he may lose no honour in my company, 'tis very natural for him to expect more pleasure in yours. I remember the time when the company of the greatest and wisest men in the kingdom would have been insipid and tiresome to me, if it had deprived me of an opportunity of enjoying your mother's.
Mar. Your's, no doubt, was as agreeable to her; for generous minds know no pleasure in society but where 'tis mutual.
Thor. Thou knowest I have no heir, no child, but thee; the fruits of many years successful industry must all be thine. Now it would give me pleasure, great as my love, to see on whom you will bestow it. I am daily solicited by men of the greatest rank and merit for leave to address you; but I have hitherto declined it, in hopes, that, by observation, I should learn which way your inclination tends; for, as I know love to be essential to happiness in the married state, I had rather my approbation should confirm your choice than direct it.
Mar. What can I say? How shall I answer, as I ought, this tenderness, so uncommon even in good parents? But you are without example: yet, had you been less indulgent, I had been most wretched. That I look on the crowd of courtiers that visit here, with equal esteem, but equal indifference, you have observ'd, and I must needs confess; yet, had you asserted your authority, and insisted on a parent's right to be obey'd, I had submitted, and to my duty sacrificed my peace.
Thor. From your perfect obedience in every other instance, I feared as much; and therefore would leave you without a bias in an affair wherein your happiness is so immediately concern'd.
Mar. Whether from a want of that just ambition that would become your daughter, or from some other cause, I know not; but I find high birth and titles do not recommen the man who owns them to my affections.
Thor. I would not that they should, unless his merit