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and this nation; which they have served abroad faithfully, in the discharge of their great trust, and prudently in their negociations with several Princes; and also served at home with much honour and justice, in their wise managing a great part of the public affairs thereof, in the various times both of war and peace.
But lest I should be thought by any, that may incline either to deny or doubt this truth, not to have observed moderation in the commendation of this Family; and also for that I believe the merits and memory of such persons ought to be thankfully recorded, I shall offer to the consideration of every Reader, out of the testimony of their Pedigree and our Chronicles, a part—and but a part-of that just commendation which might be from thence enlarged, and shall then leave the indifferent Reader to judge whether my error be an excess or defect of commendations.*
Sir Robert Wotton, of Bocton Malherbe, Knight, was born about the year of Christ 1460: he, living in the reign of King Edward the Fourth, was by him trusted to be Lieutenant of Guisnes, to be Knight Porter, and Comptroller of Calais, where he died, and lies honourably buried.
Sir Edward Wotton of Bocton Malherbe, Knight,-son and heir of the said Sir Robert—was born in the year of Christ 1489, in the reign of King Henry the Seventh; he was made Treasurer of Calais, and of the Privy Council to King Henry the Eighth, who offered him to be Lord Chancellor of England; but, saith Holinshed, † out of a virtuous modesty, he refused it.
Thomas Wotton of Bocton Malherbe, Esquire, son and heir of the said Sir Edward, and the father of our Sir Henry, that occasions this relation, was born in the year of Christ 1521.
He was a gentleman excellently educated, and studious in all the Liberal Arts ; in the knowledge whereof he attained unto a great perfection ; who, though he had—besides those abilities, a very noble and plentiful estate, and the ancient interest of his prede.
* Hollingshed informs us that the family of the Wottons was very ancient, and that “Some persons of that surname for their singularities of wit and learning, for their honour and government in and of the realm, about the prince and elsewhere, at home and abroad, deserve such commendations, that they merit niveo signari lapillo.”
+ In his Chronicle.
cessors-many invitations from Queen Elizabeth to change his country recreations and retirement for a Court, offering him a Knighthood,-she was then with him at his Bocton Hall—and that to be but as an earnest of some more honourable and more prof. itable employment under her; yet he humbly refused both, being “a man of great modesty, of a most plain and single heart, of an ancient freedom, and integrity of mind.” A commendation which Sir Henry Wotton took occasion often to remember with great gladness, and thankfully to boast himself the son of such a father; from whom indeed he derived that noble ingenuity that was always practised by himself, and which he ever both commended and cherished in others. This Thomas was also remarkable for hospitality, a great lover and much beloved of his country ; to which may justly be added, that he was a cherisher of learning, as appears by that excellent Antiquary Mr. William Lambarde, * in his Perambulation of Kent.
This Thomas had four sons, Sir Edward, Sir James, Sir John, and Sir Henry.
Sir Edward was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, and made Comptroller of Her Majesty's Household. “ He was,” saith Camden,
a man remarkable for many and great employments in the State, during her reign, and sent several times Ambassador into foreign nations. After her death, he was by King James made Comptroller of his Household, and called to be of his Privy Council, and by him advanced to be Lord Wotton, Baron of Merley in Kent, and made Lord Lieutenant of that County." Sir James, the second son, may be numbered among
the martial men of his age, who was, in the thirty-eighth of Queen Eliza. beth's reign-with Robert, Earl of Sussex, Count Lodowick of
* William Lambarde, an eminent Lawyer and Antiquary, was the son of an Alderman of London, and was born Oct. 18th, 1536. In 1556, he entered Lincoln's Inn, and studied the law under Lawrence Nowell, brother to the Dean of St. Paul's. In 1597, he was made Keeper of the Rolls by Chancellor Egerton; and in 1600, Queen Elizabeth appointed him to be Keeper of the Records in the Tower. He died Aug. 19th, 1601, and his principal works are a collection and Latin Translation of the Saxon Laws, a Discourse of the English Courts of Justice, another on the Office of Justices, and the Perambulation of Kent.
Nassau, Don Christophoro, son of Antonio, King of Portugal, and divers other gentlemen of nobleness and valour—knighted in the field near Cadiz in Spain, after they had gotten great honoui and riches, besides a notable retaliation of injuries, by taking that town.
Sir John, being a gentleman excellently accomplished, both by learning and travel, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, and by her looked upon with more than ordinary favour, and with intentions of preferment; but death in his younger years put a period to his growing hopes.
Of Sir Henry my following discourse shall give an account.
The descent of these fore-named Wottons was all in a direct line, and most of them and their actions in the memory of those with whom we have conversed ; but if I had looked so far back as to Sir Nicholas Wotton, who lived in the reign of King Richard the Second, or before him upon divers others of great note in their several ages, I might by some be thought tedious; and yet others may more justly think me negligent, if I omit to mention Nicholas Wotton, the fourth son of Sir Robert, whom I first named.
This Nicholas Wotton was Doctor of Law, and sometime Dean both of York and Canterbury; a man whom God did not only bless with a long life, but with great abilities of mind, and an inclination to employ them in the service of his country, as is testified by his several employments, * having been sent nine times Ambassador unto foreign Princes; and by his being a Privy Councillor to King Henry the Eighth, to Edward the Sixth, tc Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth, who also, after he had been, during the wars between England, Scotland, and France, three several times—and not unsuccessfully-employed in Committees for settling of Peace betwixt this and those kingdoms, “died," saith learned Camden, “ full of commendations for wisdom and piety.” He was also, by the Will of King Henry the Eighth, made one of his Executors, and Chief Secretary of State to his son, that pious Prince, Edward the Sixth. Concerning which Nicho,as Wotton I shall say but this little more; that he refused --being offered it by Queen Elizabeth—to be Archbishop of Can.
* Camden in his Britannia.
terbury,*—and that he died not rich, though he lived in that time of the dissolution of Abbeys.
More might be added ; but by this it may appear, that Sir Henry Wotton was a branch of such a kindred, as left a stock of reputation to their posterity : such reputation as might kindle a generous emulation in strangers, and preserve a noble ambition in those of his name and family, to perform actions worthy of their ancestors.
And that Sir Henry Wotton did so, might appear more per. fectly than my pen can express it, if of his many surviving friends, some one of higher parts and employments, had been pleased to have commended his to posterity; but since some years are now past, and they have all—I know not why-forborne to do it, my gratitude to the memory of my dead friend, and the renewed request of somet that still live solicitous to see this duty performed ; these have had
power to persuade me to undertake it; which truly I have not done but with distrust of mine own abilities; and yet so far from despair, that I am modestly confident my humble language shall be accepted, because I shall present all readers with a commixture of truth, and Sir Henry Wotton's merits.
This being premised, I proceed to tell the reader, that the Father of Sir Henry Wotton was twice married ; first to Elizabeth, the daughter of Sir John Rudstone, Knight; after whose death, though his inclination was averse to all contentions, yet necessitated he was to several suits in Law; in the prosecution whereof,—which took up much of his time, and were the occasion of many discontents,—he was by divers of his friends earnestly persuaded to a re-marriage; to whom he has often an. swered, “ That if ever he did put on a resolution to marry, he was seriously resolved to avoid three sorts of persons: namely
Those that had children;
And yet, following his own Law-suits, he met in Westminster* Holinshed.
+ Sir Edward Bysshe, Clarencieux King of Arms, Mr. Charles Cotton, and Mr. Nic. Oudert, sometime Sir Henry Wotton's servant.
Hall with Mrs. Eleonora Morton, Widow to Robert Morton, of Kent, Esquire, who was also engaged in several suits in Law: and he observing her comportment at the time of hearing one of her causes before the Judges, could not but at the same time both compassionate her condition, and affect her person ; for the tears of lovers, beauty dressed in sadness, are observed to have in them a charming eloquence, and to become very often too strong to be resisted: which I mention, because it proved so with this Thomas Watton ; for although there were in her a concurrence of all those accidents, against which he had so seriously resolved, yet his affection to her grew then so strong, that he resolved to solicit her for a wife, and did, and obtained her.
By her—who was the daughter of Sir William Finch, of Eastwell, in Kent,—he had only Henry his youngest son. His Mother undertook to be tutoress unto him during much of his childhood ; for whose care and pains he paid her each day with such visible signs of future perfection in Learning, as turned her employment into a pleasing trouble ; which she was content to continue, till his Father took him into his own particular care, and disposed of him to a Tutor in his own house at Bocton.
And when time and diligent instruction had made him fit for a removal to an higher form,—which was very early,—he was sent to Winchester-school : a place of strict discipline and order, that so he might in his youth be moulded into a method of living by rule, which his wise father knew to be the most necessary way to make the future part of his life both happy to himself, and useful for the discharge of all business, whether public or private.
And that he might be confirmed in this regularity, he was, at a fit age, removed from that School, to be a Commoner of New. College in Oxford ; both being founded by William Wickham, Bishop of Winchester.
There he continued till about the eighteenth year of his age, and was then transplanted into Queen's College : where, within that year, he was by the chief of that College, persuasively en. joined to write a play for their private use ;-it was the Tragedy of Tancredo--which was so interwoven with sentences, and foi the method and exact personating those humours, passions ana dispositions, which he proposed to represent, so performed, that