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thence he received both : so those friends, that in this time of trial laboured to excuse this facetious freedom of Sir Henry Wotton's, were to him more dear, and by him more highly valued ; and those acquaintance, that urged this as an advantage against him, caused him by this error to grow both more wise, and—which is the best fruit error can bring forth--for the future to become more industriously watchful over his tongue and pen.
I have told you a part of his employment in Italy; where, notwithstanding the death of his favourer, the Duke Leonardo Donato,* who had an undissembled affection for him, and the mali. cious accusation of Scioppius, yet his interest—as though it had been an entailed love—was still found to live and increase in all the succeeding Dukes during his employment to that State, which was almost twenty years; all which time he studied the dispositions of those Dukes, and the other Consulters of State ; well knowing that he who negociates a continued business, and neglects the study of dispositions, usually fails in his proposed ends. But in this Sir Henry Wotton did not fail; for, by a fine sorting of fit presents, curious, and not costly entertainments, always sweetened by various and pleasant discourse—with which, and his choice application of stories, and his elegant delivery of all these, even in their Italian language, he first got, and still preserved, such interest in the State of Venice, that it was observed -such was either his merit or his modesty—they never denied him any request.
But all this shows but his abilities, and his fitness for that em. ployment : it will therefore be needful to tell the Reader, what use he made of the interest which these procured him: and that indeed was rather to oblige others than to enrich himself: he still endeavouring that the reputation of the English might be maintained, both in the German Empire and in Italy ; where many gentlemen, whom travel had invited into that nation, re. ceived from him cheerful entertainments, advice for their behaviour, and, by his interest, shelter or deliverance from those acci. dental storms of adversity which usually attend upon travel.
And because these things may appear to the Reader to be but
* Doge of Venice from 1606 to July, 1612.
generals, I shall acquaint him with two particular examples; one of his merciful disposition, and one of the nobleness of his mind; which shall follow.
There had been many English Soldiers brought by Command. ers of their own country, to serve the Venetians for pay against the Turk; and those English, having by irregularities, or improvidence, brought themselves into several galleys and prisons, Sir Henry Wotton became a petitioner to that State for their lives and enlargement; and his request was granted : so that thosewhich were many hundreds, and there made the sad examples of human misery, by hard imprisonment and unpitied poverty in a strange nation—were by his means released, relieved, and in a comfortable condition sent to thank God and him, for their lives and liberty in their own country.
And this I have observed as one testimony of the compassionate nature of him, who was, during his stay in those parts, as a city of refuge for the distressed of this and other nations.
And for that which I offer as a testimony of the nobleness of his mind, I shall make way to the Reader's clearer understanding of it, by telling him, that beside several other foreign employments, Sir Henry Wotton was sent thrice Ambassador to the Re. public of Venice. And at his last going thither, he was employed Ambassador to several of the German Princes, and more particularly to the Emperor Ferdinando the Second ; and that his employment to him, and those Princes, was to incline them to equitable conditions for the restoration of the Queen of Bohemia and her descendants, to their patrimonial inheritance of the Pal. atinate.
This was, by his eight months' constant endeavours and attendance upon the Emperor, his Court and Council, brought to a probability of a successful conclusion, without bloodshed. But there were at that time two opposite armies in the field; and as they were treating, there was a battle fought,* in the managery whereof there were so many miserable errors on the one side,-so Sir Henry Wotton expresses it in a dispatch to the King—and so ad. vantageous events to the Emperor, as put an end to all present hopes
* The battle of Prague.
of a successful treaty ; so that Sir Henry, seeing the face of peace altered by that victory, prepared for a removal from that Court; and at his departure from the Emperor, was so bold as to remember him, “ That the events of every battle move on the unseen wheels of Fortune, which are this moment up, and down the next : and therefore humbly advised him to use his victory so soberly, as still to put on thoughts of peace.” Which advice, though it seemed to be spoken with some passion,--his dear rnistress the Queen of Bohemia,* being concerned in it—was yet taken in good part by the Emperor; who replied, “ That he would consider his advice. And though he looked on the King his master, as an abettor of his enemy, the Palsgrave; yet for Sir Henry himself, his behaviour had been such during the manage of the Treaty, that he took him to be a person of much honour and merit; and did therefore desire him to accept of that Jewel, as a tes
* The phrase “ his dear mistress” compels the appearance here of his well known verses " to the most illustrious Princesse, the Ladie Elizabeth.”
“ You meaner beauties of the night,
What are you when the sun shall rise ?
You curious chanters of the wood,
When Philomel her voice shall raise ;
You violets that first appear,
What are you when the rose is blown?
So when my mistress shall be seen,
The eclipse and glory of her kind ?”
timony of his good opinion of him:” which was a jewel of Diamonds of more value than a thousand pounds.
This Jewel was received with all outward circumstances and terms of honour by Sir Henry Wotton. But the next morning, at his departing from Vienna, he, at his taking leave of the Countess of Sabrina-an Italian Lady, in whose house the Emperor had appointed him to be lodged, and honourably entertained—acknowl. edged her merits, and besought her to accept of that Jewel, as a testimony of his gratitude for her civilities; presenting her with the same that was given him by the Emperor: which being suddenly discovered, and told to the Emperor, was by him taken for a high affront, and Sir Henry Wotton told so by a messenger. To which he replied, “ That though he received it with thankfulness, yet he found in himself an indisposition to be the better for any gift that came from an enemy to his Royal Mistress, the Queen of Bohemia ;” for so she was pleased he should always call her. Many other of his services to his Prince and this nation might be insisted upon; as namely, his procurations of privileges and courtesies with the German Princes, and the Republic of Venice, for the English Merchants: and what he did by di. rection of King James with the Venetian State, concerning the Bishop of Spalato's* return to the Church of Rome. But for the particulars of these, and many more that I meant to make known, I want a view of some papers that might inform me,-his late Majesty's Letter-Office having now suffered a strange alienation, -and indeed I want time too; for the Printer's press stays for what is written: so that I must haste to bring Sir Henry Wotton in an instant from Venice to London, leaving the reader to make up what is defective in this place, by the small supplement of the Inscription under his Arms,f which he left at all those houses
* Marcus Antonius de Dominis, Archbishop of Spalatro, in Dalmatia, and in the territory of Venice, was born at Arba, about 1561. He came to England with Mr. Bedel, in 1617, and, on professing himself a convert to the Protestant faith, was made Dean of Windsor. He was, however, persuaded by the Ambassador Gondamar, to return to Rome, and his former religion : but though the promise of a Cardinal's hat was held out to him, he was seized by the Inquisition, and died in prison, in 1625.
† A painted shield, with the titles of the Ambassador written below it, called
where he rested, or lodged, when he returned from his last Embassy into England.
Henricus Wottonius Anglo-Cantianus, Thomæ optimi viri filius natu minimus, à Serenissimo Jacobo I. Mag. Brit. Rege, in equestrem titulum adscitus, ejusdemque ter ad Rempublicam Venetam Legatus Ordinarius, semel ad Confederatarum Provinciarum Ordines in Juliacensi negotio. Bis ad Carolum Emanuel, Sabaudiæ Ducem; semel ad Unitos Superioris Germaniæ Principes in Conven*u Heilbrunensi, postremò ad Archiducem Leopoldum, Ducem Wittembergensem, Civitates Imperiales, Argentinam, Ulmamque, et ipsum Romanorum Imperatorem Ferdinandum Secundum, Legatus Extraordinarius, tandem hoc didicit,
Animas fieri sapientiores quiescendo. To London he came the year before King James died ; who having, for the reward of his foreign service, promised him the reversion of an office, which was fit to be turned into present money, which he wanted, for a supply of his present necessities ; and also granted him the reversion of the Master of the Rolls place, if he outlived charitable Sir Julius Cæsar,* who then possessed it, and then grown so old that he was said to be kept alive beyond Nature's course, by the prayers of those many poor which he daily relieved.
But these were but in hope ; and his condition required a present support: for in the beginning of these employments he sold to his elder brother, the Lord Wotton, the rent-charge left by his good father; and—which is worse—was now at his return indebted to several persons, whom he was not able to satisfy, but by
a Lodging Scutcheon, was commonly hung over the door of the house in which the Envoy resided ; a custom derived probably from the ancient times of chivalry, when the knights who were to appear in a tournament suspended their arms at the windows of their dwellings.
* An eminent Civilian, descended from a very ancient Italian family, and born at Tottenham, in Middlesex, in 1557, his father being Physician to the Queens Mary and Elizabeth. He was educated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford ; but he took his D.C.L. degree at Paris. In 1563 he was made Master of the Requests, Judge of the Admiralty, and Master of St. Catherine's Hospital; King James I. knighted him, made him Chancellor of the Exchcquer, and Master of the Rolls. He died in 1636.