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ble, since, in the month of September, 1643, he received the honour of knighthood from the King, at the siege of Gloucester, an acknowledgment of his bravery, and signal services, which bestowed at a time when a strict scrutiny was made concerning the merit of officers, puts it beyond doubt, that Davenant, in his martial character, was as deserving as in his poetical. During these severe contentions, and notwithstanding his public character, our author's muse sometimes raised her voice, in the composition of several plays, of which we shall give some account when we enumerate his dramatic performances. History is silent as to the means which induced Davenant to quit the Northern army, but as soon as the King's affairs so far declined, as to afford no hopes of a revival, he judged it necessary to retire into France, where he was extremely well received by the Queen, into whose confidence he had the honour to be taken, and was intrusted with the negotiation of matters of the highest importance, in the summer of the year 1646. Before this time Sir William had embraced the popish religion, which circumstance might so far ingratiate him with the queen, as to trust him with the most important concerns. Lord Clarendon, who had a particular esteem for him, has given a full account of this affair, though not much to his advantage, but yet with all the tenderness due to Sir William's good intentions, and of that long and intimate acquaintance that had subsisted between them; which is the more worthy the reader's notice, as it has entirely escaped the observation of all those, who have undertaken to write this gentleman's Memoirs, though the most remarkable passage in his whole life. The King, in retiring to the Scots, had followed the advice of the French ambassador, who had promised on their behalf, if not more than he had authority to do, at least, more than they were inclined to perform; to justify, however, his conduct at home, he was inclined to throw the weight, in some measure, upon the King, and with this view, he, by an express, informed cardinal Mazarine, that his Majesty was too reserved in giving the Parliament satisfaction, and therefore desired that some person might be sent over, who had a sufficient degree of credit with the English Monarch, to persuade him to such compliances, as were necessary for his interest. 'The Queen, says the noble historian, who was never advised by those, who either understood, or valu
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