The Autobiography of Anne Halkett

[She bethroths herself to Joseph Bampfield, 8 months of living together as married couple (?), pp. 24 - 27]

[p. 24] Though C. B. [Colonel Bampfield] discovered himselfe to none but such as were of known integrity, yett many comming to that place where hee lay made him think itt convenientt for his own safety to goe some time into the country, and att his returne to bee more private.

One evening when I wentt to see him I found him lying upon his bed, and asking him if hee were nott well, hee told mee he was well [p. 25] enough, butt had receaved a visitt in the morning from a person that hee wondred much how hee found him out; he was a solicittor that was imployed by all the gentlemen in the county where hee lived, which was hard by where his wife dwelt, and he had brought him word shee was dead, and named the day and place where shee was buried. I confese I saw him nott in much griefe, and therefore I used nott many words of consolation, butt left him affter I had given him accountt of the busynese I wentt for. I neither made my visitts lese nor more to him for this news, for Loyalty beeing the principle that first led mee to a freedome of converse with him, so still I continued itt as offten as there was occation to serve that interest. Hee putt on mourning, and told the reason of itt to such as hee conversed with, butt had desired the gentleman who had first aquainted him with itt nott to make itt puplicke lest the fortune hee had by his wife and shee injoyed while shee lived should bee sequestred.

To bee short, affter a litle time hee one day, when I was alone with him, began to tell mee that now hee was a free man hee would say that to mee which I should have never knowne while hee lived if itt had beene other ways, which was, that hee had a great respect and honour for mee since the first time hee knew mee, butt had resolved itt should die with him if hee had not beene in a condittion to declare itt withoutt doing mee prejudice, for hee hoped if hee could gaine an interest in my affection itt would nott apeare so unreasonable to marry him as others might representt itt, for if itt pleased God to restore the King, of which hee was nott yett outt of hopes, hee had a promise of beeing one of his Majestie's bedchamber; and, though that should faile, yett what hee and I had together would be about eight hundred pound sterling a yeare, which, with the Lord's blesing, might be a competency to any contentmentt minds. Hee so offten insisted on this when I had occation to be with him that att last hee prevailed with mee, and I did consentt to his proposal, and resolved to marry him as soone as itt apeared convenientt; butt wee delayed it till wee saw how itt pleased God to determine [p. 26] of the King's affaires.1

I know I may bee condemned as one that was too easily prevailed with, butt this I must desire to bee considered, hee was one who I had beene conversantt with for severall yeares before; one that professed a great freindship to my beloved brother Will; hee was unquestionably loyall, handsome, a good skollar, which gave him the advantages of writting and speaking well, and the cheefest ornamentt hee had was a devout life and conversation. Att least hee made itt apeare such to mee, and what ever misfortune hee brought upon mee I will doe him that right as to acknowledge I learnt from him many excellent lessons of piety and vertue, and to abhorre and detest all kinds of vice. This beeing his constant dialect made mee thinke myselfe as secure from ill in his company as in a sanctuary.

From the prejudice which that opinion brought upon mee I shall advise all never to thinke a good intention can justify what may bee scandalous, for though one's actions bee never so inocentt, yett they cannott blame them who suspect them guilty when there is apearance of there deserved reproach; and I confese I did justly suffer the scourge of the toung for exposing my selfe upon any consideration to what might make mee liable to itt, for which I condemne my selfe as much as my sevearest enemy.

The King's misfortune dayly increasing, and his enemy's rage and malice, both were att last determined in that execrable murder, never to be mentioned without horror and detestation. This putt such a dampe upon all designes of the Royall party, that they were for a time like those that dreamed; but they quickly roused up themselves, and resolved to leave noe meanes unesayed that might evidence their loyalty. Many excellent designes were laid, butt the Lord thought fitt to disapoint them all, that His owne power might bee the more magnified by bringing home the King in peace when all hostile attempts failed.

In the meane time C. B. [Colonel Bampfield] was nott idle though unsuccessfull, and still continued in or about London, where hee could bee most secure.

One day when I wentt to see him I found him extreordinary melancholy; and, having taken mee by the hand, and lead mee to a seate, wentt [p. 27] from mee to the other side of the roome, which I wondred att, because hee usually satte by mee when I was with him.

With a deepe sigh hee said, "You must nott wonder att this distance, for I have had news since I saw you, that, if itt bee true, my distance from you must be greater, and I must conclude my selfe the most unfortunate of men."

I was much troubled att the discourse, butt itt was increased when hee told mee the reason of itt, for hee said one had informed him that his wife was living. What a surprise that was to mee none can imagine, because I beleeve none ever met with such a tryall. Hee, seeing mee in great disorder, said, "Pray bee not discomposed till the truth bee knowne, for upon the first intimation of itt I sent away my man Ned B., who served mee long and knows the country and persons where she lived, who will returne within a fortnight. If itt be false, I hope you will have no reason to change your thoughts and intentions; if itt should bee true, God is my wittnese I am nott guilty of the contrivance of the report of her beeing dead, nor had noe designe butt what I thought justifiable." I could not contradict what hee said, and charity led mee to beleeve him.2

I left him in great disturbance, butt could conclude nothing till the returne of his servantt, who brought word that his wife died att the same time that hee first gott knowledge of itt, and that hee was att her grave where shee was buried, which I beleeving, continued my former resolutions, and intended to marry as soone as wee could putt our affaires in such order as to preventt sequestration.

[1 Bampfield and James sail at dawn; reach Flushing in Zeeland, 23 April/3 May; Bampfield to Hague to tell Prince and Princess of Orange James there; they send a yacht (Bampfield's Apology, 157). Anne when CB lands at Tower once again, now found CB an apartment or room not far from her brother Charles's house (p. 24 through "honest coachman"); exchange of letters between him and King as long as he could; when guard too tight, he retires into "the country."

One evening after this comes the fatal visit of the solicitor from Cornwall to announce CB's wife death; CB puts on mourning but we are told tells Anne he will not make it public "lest the fortune hee had by his wife and shee injoyed while shee lived should bee sequestred." She says he was not grief-striken. Alas, the demand they keep her death secret and reasoning for it resembles that of the "prince" in Henrietta Stannard's A Blameless Woman. I suggest the solicitor came and said his wife was ill, probably dying. In the monument to her the Latin suggests she was often sick; this would help to explain why she didn't show herself earlier (she first came to London in the 1650s): "after many vicissitudes of time and fortune, after the greatest storms of illness and disease, after enduring hardships with manlike fortitude, all together and each one singularly, here finally sleeps peacefully in God (Loftis, Memoirs, 264n).

Then he begins to woo and suggest marriage; he is 26 and she 25. They'd have 800 pounds sterling; he'd be one of his Majestie's bedchamber. She writes: "Hee so offten insisted on this when I had occation to be with him that att last hee prevailed with mee, and I did consentt to his proposal, and resolved to marry him as soone as itt apeared convenientt ." The lie here is she doesn't say they were seriously bethrothed. So it would be spring into summer of 1648 (p. 25). "hee was one who I had beene conversantt with for severall yeares before; one that professed a great freindship to my beloved brother Will .." Also thrilling that he corresponds with king.

Then she fills up time from late spring/early summer 1648 to January 1649 with lessons about not trusting to people putting on good constructions, praise of Bampfield, describing how she came to respect him, but we see a period of 8 months when let's say they were really lovers. I agree generally with Loftis's accounting for this time gap: Anne Murray and Joseph Bampfield married and lived together, perhaps in Holland. See Loftis's biographical supplement to Bampfield's Apology, 147-48.

[2 Bampfield had hoped his wife would die soon; the solicitor who came from Somersetshire may have told him she was so ill as to be near death. Now he decides he needs to leave staying in hiding; he must go from her; he knows his wife not yet dead even if very sick, so he confesses in order to get away. He has got to make a living and is ambitious. He could hope his wife would die soon, and in the meantime Anne goes into the country to live with her friend, Anne Howard. He'll trust to his luck.] Seeing her go distraught he says he's sending a man to the area to see what's what (Ned B). Like her he's good at statements where he tells literal truth (de facto) but not truth in spirit: "God is my wittnese I am nott guilty of the contrivance of the report of her beeing dead, nor had noe designe butt what I thought justifiable." He may not have been guilty of that contrivance, and he thought what he was doing was justifiable or at any rate he would not be found out and he and Anne would be man and wife and no one look into a discrepancy between their bethrothal time and his wife's death (p. 27). Finding Anne so distraught he felt he could not tell her his wife alive so now he does lie: he says servant discovered she was dead and saw the grave. Reference to "sequestration" comes up here as he again reminded her of why they couldn't tell (original lie) and hoped that no one might know about their bethrothal. He reckons without her brother-in-law For more detail on his wife, Catherine Sydenham, and her family (which Anne shows she knew not much later), see p. 34n8 below.

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