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mitted any mistake, we find the law most correctly laid down by him, not only on Weston's trial, but in other places.
Of the Raleigh treason, which is another of the “ stateriddlesof James's reign, Weldon gives the following account.
“But because I will not leave you altogether blind-folded, I shall, as near as I can, lead you to the discovery of this treason, which consisted of protestants, puritans, papists, and atheists; a strange medley, you will say, to meet in one and the same treason, and keep counsel, which surely they did, because they knew not of any. The protestants were the Lord Cobham and George Brook, his brother ; the one very learned and wise, the other a most silly lord; the puritan, the Lord Gray of Wilton, a very hopeful gentleman, blasted in the very bud; the papists, Watson and Clark, priests, and Parham, a gentleman; the atheist, Sir Walter Raleigh, then generally so believed, though after brought by affliction (the best school-mistress) to be, and so died, a most religious gentleman. This treason was compounded of most strange ingredients (and more strange than true) it was very true, most of these were discontented to see Salisbury, their old friend, so high to trample on them that before had been his chief supporters and being ever of his faction) now neglected and condemned. It was then believed an arrant trick of state, to overthrow some and disable others, knowing their strong abilities might otherwise live to overthrow Salisbury; for they were intimate in all his secret counsels for the ruin of Essex, especially Raleigh, Gray, and Cobham, though the latter was a fool, yet had been very useful to them, as the tool in the hand of the workman. To have singled out these without some priests, which were traitors by the law, had smelt too rank, and appeared too poor and plain a trick of state; and Salisbury in this had a double benefit—first, in ridding himself of such as he feared would have been thorns in his sides-secondly, by endearing himself to the king by showing his diligence and vigilancy, so that it might be said of him, as of Cæsar in another case, inveniam aut fuciam, I will either find out a treason, or make one; and this had been a pretty trick had it been only to disgrace, without taking away life; but how this piece of policy may stand with religion, I fear, by this time, he too well understands; and this plot, as near as I can tell you (and I dare say my intelligence gave me as near a guess as ever any man had) was, that all these in a discontented humour had, by Watson and Clark being confessors, dealt with Count Aremberg, the arch-duke's ambassador, to raise an army, and invade England, and they would raise another of papists and malcontents to join; for you must understand, the king was believed an arrant puritan (cujus contrarium verum est). How likely this plot was, let the world judge, that the King of Spain, who had bought peace at so dear a rate, and found it so advantageous to him by the lamentable experience he had formerly in the wars with this formidable state, should seek to break it so soon. And had it been real treason, the state had been bound to have rewarded these traitors, as the best piece of service done in England all that king's reign. It was, indeed, those that
made the peace, not those that endeavoured the breaking of it, were the traitors, and are to be cursed by all posterity. Yet this foolish plot served well enough to take some blocks out of the way, that might afterwards have made some of them stumble to the breaking of their own necks.”—p. 30.
Notwithstanding the doubt with which Weldon speaks of the existence of this
plot, a doubt which has been expressed by many other writers, there seems to be no just ground for disbelieving it. How far Raleigh was implicated in it, is another question. The prisoners in general confessed themselvesguilty, which is pretty nearly as strong a proofas could be procured. Nor isit by any means improbable, that one of the objects of the conspirators was to place the Lady Arabella on the throne. That such a design would have been encouraged by Spain, notwithstanding the recent peace, can scarcely be doubted, when the uniform policy of that country towards England at this period is considered. The advice of the Jesuit* Campanella, in his “ Discourse touching the Spanish Monarchy," proves how well such a scheme was considered to square with the interests of Spain. There is a curious coincidence between the Jesuit's exhortation, and the subsequent conduct of the Spanish court.
“My opinion, therefore, is that the King of Spain should do well to employ underhand some certain merchants of Florence, that are arch and subtle persons, and that traffick at Antwerp, who (because they are not so much hated by the English as the Spaniards are) should treat with some such of the English, as are some way or other descended from soine of the former Kings of England, and should promise each of them severally, (no one of them knowing any thing which is said to the other) all the possible aids that can be from Spain, for the restoring of them to their inheritances, legally descending down to them from their ancestors, and undertake to effect this for them; if not, as to the whole kingdom, yet as to some part of it.”
With regard to Raleigh, there seems every reason to believe that he was actually innocent of all treasonable connexion with this conspiracy; that he was never legally proved guilty, is undoubted. It is by no means so clear, that he had not been induced to accept a portion of the Spanish gold which Cobham
* A Discourse touching the Spanish Monarchy, &c., written by Thomas Campanella, newly translated into English according to the true edition of this book in Latin. London, 1654. This Discourse was written before the accession of James.
had received from Aremberg. He might have consented to be bought over to the Spanish interest. He does not appear, on bis trial, to have denied the receipt of the money, though he most positively denies his participation in any treasonable plot. 'When the Chief Justice asked him, what he had to say to Cobham's letter, and the pension of £1500 a year? Raleigh, not denying the fact, replied, " I say, that Cobham is a base, dishonourable, poor soul.”* The cruel and overbearing conduct of Sir Edward Coke, then Attorney-General, upon this trial, will for ever remain the greatest stain upon his character. In calling Sir Walter an atheist, however, it seems that Coke was borne out, if we believe Weldon, by the common rumours of the day; and it should not be forgotten, that he asterwards retracted this charge in the fullest manner, when he passed sentence on the unfortunate Raleigh. “ I know,” says he, “ you have been valiant and wise, and I doubt not but you retain both those virtues, for now you shall have occasion to use them : your faith hath heretofore been questioned; but I am resolved you are a good Christian, for your book, which is an admirable work, doth testify as much.”+ The verses attributed to Sir Walter Raleigh, entitled My Pilgrimage, likewise tend to show, that he harboured no infidelity, at the time of his death.
In his characters of the celebrated men of his time, Weldon is somewhat of a satirist, and is almost always severe in his judgements. Of Bacon, he relates the following anecdotes.
“ Now was Bacon invested in his office, and within ten days after the king goes to Scotland. Bacon instantly begins to believe himself king, lies in the king's lodgings, gives audience in the great banqueting house, makes all other counsellors attend his motions, with the same state the king used to come out to give audience to ambassadors. When any other counsellor sate with him about the king's affairs, he would (if they sate near him) bid them know their distance; upon which, secretary Winwood rose, went away, and would never sit
under his encroached state, but instantly despatched one to the king, to desire him to make haste back, for even his very seat was already usurped. At which, I remember the king, reading it unto us, both the king, and we
very merry ; and, if Buckingham had sent him any letters, would not vouchsafe the opening or reading them in public; though it was said, it requiring speedy despatch, nor would he vouchsafe him any answer. In this posture he lived, until he heard that
* ü. State Trials, p. 28.
+ Ibid. p. 38.
the king was returning, and began to believe, as the play was almost at an end, he might personate a king's part no longer; and therefore, did again reinvest himself with his old rags of baseness, which were so tattered and poor. At the king's coming to Windsor, he attended two days at Buckingham's chamber, being not admitted to any better place than the room where trencher-scrapers and lacquies attended; there sitting upon an old wooden chest, amongst such as, for his baseness, were only fit companions, although the honour of his place did merit far more respect; with his purse and seal lying by him on that chest. Myself told a servant of my Lord of Buckingham, that it was a shame to see the purse or seal of so little value or esteem in his chamber, though the carryer without it merited nothing but scorn, being worst amongst the basest. He told me they had command it must
After two days, he had admittance; at first entrance, he fell down flat at the Duke's foot, kissing it, vowing never to rise till he had his pardon ; then was he again reconciled ; and since that time, so very a slave to the Duke, and all that family, that he durst not deny the command of the meanest of the kindred, nor oppose any thing. By this you see, a base spirit is ever concomitant with the proudest mind, and surely never so many brave parts, and so base and abject a spirit, tenanted together in any one earthen cottage, as in this one man. I shall not remember his baseness, being out of his place, of pinning himself, for very scraps, on that noble gentleman, Sir Julius Cæsar's hospitality, that at last he was forced to get the King's warrant to remove him out of his house. Yet, in his prosperity, the one being chancellor, the other master of the rolls, did so scorn and abuse him, as he would alter any thing the other did.” p. 130.
The authenticity of these anecdotes has been strenuously denied by the writer of the Life of Bacon, in the Biographia Britannica; and yet, it must be confessed, that many circumstances in his conduct give considerable countenance to them. It is said, by the editor of the Secret History of James I., that in the correspondence between Bacon and Villiers, there are no traces of servility on the part of the former, or of insolence on that of the latter; and yet surely, in the following letter, which was written on Bacon's restoration to favour, after the quarrel with Buckingham respecting the marriage of Purbeck Villiers, there is something not easily distinguishable from servility.
My ever best Lord, now better than yourself,
“ Your Lordship’s pen, or rather pencil, hath pourtrayed towards me such magnanimity and nobleness, and true kindness, as methinketh I see the image of some ancient virtue, and not any thing of these times. It is the line of my life and not the lines of my letter, that must express my thankfulness: wherein if I fail, then Ġod fail me, and make me as miserable, as I think myself at this time happy, by this reviver, through his majesty's singular clemency, and your incomparable love and favour."
The baseness and obsequiousness of Bacon, in his conduct towards the king, cannot be questioned, and it is but too probable, that he maintained the same deportment towards the favourite. Were it not for the evidence which we possess under his own hand, it would have been impossible to have conceived that a mind like Bacon's could have stooped to such singular ineanness.
The following is Weldon's character of Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton, the brother of that Duke of Norfolk who lost his head for his attachment to Mary, Queen of Scots. He built the noble palace at the end of the Strand, now almost the last of the residences of our old nobility. He subsequently presented it to Lord Walden, the elder son of his nephew the Earl of Suffolk, whence it was called Suffolk House. At present, under the name of Northumberland House, it bids fair to rival its former splendour; and we rejoice that its noble possessor has had the good taste to restore it.
“ The next that came on the public theatre in favour, was Henry Howard, a younger son of the Duke of Norfolk, and Lord Thomas Howard; the one after, Earl of Northampton, the other, Earl of Suffolk, Lord Chamberlain, and after Lord Treasurer; who, by Salisbury's greatness with that family, rather than by any merit or wisdom in themselves, raised many great families of his children. Northampton, though a great clerk, yet not a wise man, but the grossest flatterer of the world; and, as Salisbury by his wit, so this by his flattery, raised himself. Yet, one great motive to the raising of all that name of Howard's was, the Duke of Norfolk suffering for the Queen of Scots, the King's mother ; yet, did Suffolk so far get the start of Northampton, that Northampton never after loved him but from teeth outwards, only had so much discretion as not to fall to actual enmity, to the overthrow of both, to the weakening of that faction. Suffolk also, using him with all submissive respect, not for any love, but hope of gaining his great estate, and sharing it amongst his children ; but Northampton's distaste was such, by the loss of the treasurer's place, which he had with such assurance promised to himself in his thoughts, that except what he gave to Master Henry Howard, the rest he gave to the Earl of Arundel, who by his observance, but more especially by giving Northampton all his estate if he never returned from travel, had wrought himself so far into his affections, that he doted upon him.” p. 14.
Nothing can more strongly exemplify the character of the times in which he lived, than the history of Lord Northampton. Of a powerful and favoured family, he held some of the highest offices in the kingdom. His wealth was immense, and far beyond his necessities, for he died a hachelor. He was a learned man, and devoted much of his time to study; and so able a pen