Memoirs of the Court of Queen Elizabeth
by Lucy Aikin
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[Note 139: Confession of sir Charles Davers, in Birch's Memoirs.]

After this repulse, Essex as a last resource applied himself once more to the court of Scotland, and, with the disingenuousness inseparable from the conduct of political intrigue, exerted all his efforts to deceive James into a belief that the party now in power were pensioners of Spain, hired to the support of the pretended title of the Infanta. He further alarmed the king by representing that the places most proper for the reception of Spanish forces were all in the hands of the creatures of Cecil;—Raleigh being governor of Jersey, lord Cobham warden of the Cinque Ports, lord Burleigh president of the North, and sir George Carew president of Munster. In consequence, he urged James to lose no time in claiming by his ambassadors a solemn acknowledgement of his title. These suggestions were listened to; and Essex was animated to proceed in his perilous career by hopes of the speedy arrival of the Scottish embassy. In the meantime he formed a council of five of the friends most devoted to his cause:—the earl of Southampton, sir Charles Davers, sir Ferdinando Gorges, sir John Davis surveyor of the ordnance, and John Littleton esquire of Frankley. By this junto, which met privately at Drury-house, the plot was matured. The earl delivered in a list of one hundred and twenty nobles, knights and gentlemen, on whose attachment he thought he could rely: it was agreed that an attempt should be made to seize the palace, and to persuade or compel the queen to remove from her councils the enemies of the earl, and to summon a new parliament; and their respective parts were allotted to the intended actors in this scene of violence.

Meantime the extraordinary concourse to Essex-house had fixed the attention of government, and measures were taken for obtaining intelligence of all that passed within its walls. Lord Henry Howard, who had made a timely secession from the leader to whom, in terms of the grossest adulation, he had professed everlasting and unlimited attachment, is believed to have discovered some of his secrets; and a domestic educated with the earl from childhood, and entirely trusted by him, had also the baseness to reveal his counsels. On the 7th of February 1601, the privy-council, being fully informed of his proceedings, dispatched secretary Herbert to summon the earl to appear before them. But apprehensive that he was betrayed, and conscious that the steps which he had already taken were incapable of being justified, the earl excused himself from attending the council, and summoning around him the most confidential of his friends, he represented to them that they were on the point of being committed to prison, and bade them decide whether they would quietly submit themselves to the disposal of their enemies, or attempt thus prematurely to carry into effect the designs which they had meditated.

During the debate which ensued, a person entered who pretended to be deputed by the people of London to assure the earl of their cordial co-operation in his cause. This decided the question; Essex, with a more cheerful countenance, began to expatiate on the affection borne him by the city, and his expectation of being joined by sheriff Smith with a thousand of the trained bands whom he commanded. The following morning was fixed for the insurrection; and in the meantime emissaries were dispatched, who ran about the town in all directions, to spread among the friends of the earl the alarm of a design upon his life by Cobham and Raleigh.

Early on the morrow the lord keeper, the lord chief justice, and sir W. Knolles comptroller of the household, arrived at Essex-house and demanded entrance on the part of the queen. They themselves were with difficulty admitted through the wicket of the gate, which was now kept shut and guarded; but all their servants, except the purse-bearer, were excluded. They beheld the court-yard filled with a confused multitude, in the midst of which stood Essex accompanied by the earls of Southampton and Rutland and many others. The lord keeper demanded in the name of her majesty the cause of this unusual concourse; adding an assurance that if any had injured his lordship, he should find redress. Essex in a vehement manner complained of letters counterfeited in his name,—of designs against his life,—of perfidious dealings towards him: but the conference was interrupted by the clamors of the crowd, some of whom threatened violence against the court-emissaries. Without further parley the earl conducted them into the house, where he ordered them to be safely kept as hostages till his return from the city, whither he was hastening to take measures with the lord-mayor and sheriffs.

About ten o'clock he entered the city attended by the "chief gallants" of the time; as the earls of Southampton and Rutland, lords Sandys and Monteagle, sir Charles Davers, sir Christopher Blount, and many others. As they passed Fleet-street, they cried, "For the queen, for the queen!" in other places they gave out that Cobham and Raleigh would have murdered the earl in his bed; and the multitude, universally well affected to Essex, eagerly reported that he and the queen were reconciled, and that she had appointed him to ride in that triumphant manner through the city to his house in Seething-lane. The lord-mayor however received warning from the privy-council to look well to his charge, and by eleven the gates were closed and strongly guarded. The earl, though a good deal disconcerted at observing no preparations for joining him, made his way to the house of sheriff Smith; but this officer slipped out at his back door and hastened to the lord-mayor for instructions. He next proceeded to an armourer's and demanded ammunition, which was refused; and while he was hastening to and fro, without aim or object as appears, lord Burleigh courageously entered the city with a king-at-arms and half a score horse-men, and in two places proclaimed the earl and all his adherents traitors. A pistol was fired at him by one of the followers of Essex; but the multitude showed no disposition to molest him, and he hastened back to assure the queen that a popular commotion was not at all to be apprehended.

The palace was now fortified and double-guarded; the streets were blocked up with carts and coaches; and the earl, after wandering in vain about the town till two o'clock, finding himself joined by none of the citizens and deserted by a great portion of his original followers, determined to make his way back to Essex-house. At Ludgate he was opposed by some troops posted there by order of the bishop; and drawing his sword, he directed sir Christopher Blount to attack them; "which he did with great bravery, and killed Waite, a stout officer, who had been formerly hired by the earl of Leicester to assassinate sir Christopher, and was now abandoned by his company[140]." In the end, however, the earl was repulsed with the loss of one young gentleman killed and sir Christopher Blount wounded and taken prisoner; and retreating with his diminished band to the river side, he returned by water to his own house.

[Note 140: Birch's Memoirs.]

He was much disappointed to find that his three prisoners had been liberated in his absence by sir Ferdinando Gorges: but sanguine to the last in his hopes of an insurrection of the citizens in his favor, he proceeded to fortify his house in the best manner that circumstances would admit.

It was soon invested by a considerable force under the lord admiral, the earls of Cumberland and Lincoln, and other commanders. Sir Robert Sidney was ordered to summon the little garrison to surrender, when the earl of Southampton demanded terms and hostages; but being answered that none would be granted to rebels, except that the ladies within the house and their women would be permitted to depart if they desired it, the defenders declared their resolution to hold out, and the assault continued.

Lord Sandys, the oldest man in the party, encouraged the earl in the resolution which he once appeared to have adopted, of cutting a way through the assailants; observing, that the boldest courses were the safest, and that at all events it was more honorable for men of quality to die sword in hand than by the axe of the executioner:—but Essex, who had not yet resigned the flattering hopes of life, was easily moved by the tears and cries of the surrounding females to yield to less courageous, not more prudent, counsels. Captain Owen Salisbury, a brave veteran, seeing that all was lost, planted himself at a window bare-headed, for the purpose of being slain: on receiving from one of the assailants a bullet on the side of his head, "O!" cried he, "that thou hadst been so much my friend to have shot but a little lower!" Of this wound however he expired the next morning.

About six in the evening the earl made known his willingness to surrender, on receiving assurance, for himself and his friends, of civil treatment and a legal trial; and permission for a clergyman named Aston to attend him in prison:—the lord admiral answered that of the two first articles there could be no doubt, and for the last he would intercede. The house was then yielded with all that were in it. During that night the principal offenders were lodged in Lambeth-palace, the next day they were conveyed to the Tower; while the common prisons received the accomplices of meaner rank.

On February 19th Essex and Southampton were brought to their trial before the house of peers; lord Buckhurst sitting as lord high steward. Essex inquired whether peers might not be challenged like common jurymen, but was answered in the negative. He pleaded Not guilty; professed his unspotted loyalty to his queen and country, and earnestly labored to give to his attempt to raise the city the color of a necessary act of self-defence against the machinations of enemies from whom his life was in danger. Had this interpretation of his conduct been admitted, possibly his offence might not have come within the limits of treason: but it was held, that his refusal to attend the council; the imprisonment of the three great officers sent to him by the queen; and above all the consultations held at Drury-house for bringing soldiers from Ireland, for surprising the Tower, for seizing the palace, and for compelling the queen to remove certain persons from her counsels and to call a parliament, assigned to his overt acts the character of designs against the state itself. For the confessions of his accomplices, by which the secrets of the Drury-house meetings were brought to light, he was evidently unprepared; and the native violence of his temper broke out in invectives against those associates by whom, as he falsely pretended, all these criminal designs had been originally suggested to his mind. This evidence, he said, had been elicited by the hope of pardon and reward;—let those who had given it enjoy their lives with impunity;—to him death was far more welcome than life. Whatever interpretation lawyers might put upon it, the necessity of self-defence against Cobham, Raleigh and Cecil, had impelled him to raise the city; and he was consoled by the testimony of a spotless conscience. Lord Cobham here rose, and protested that he had never acted with malice against the earl, although he had disapproved of his ambition. "On my faith," replied the earl, "I would have given this right hand to have removed from the queen such an informer and calumniator."

He afterwards proceeded to accuse sir Robert Cecil of having affirmed that the title of the Infanta was equally well founded with that of any other claimant. But the secretary here stepped forward to entreat that, the prisoner might be obliged to bring proof of his assertions; and it thus became manifest, and in the end was confessed with contrition by the earl himself, that he had advanced this charge on false grounds.

It was with better reason that he reproached Francis Bacon, who then stood against him as queen's counsel, with the glaring inconsistency between his past professions and his present conduct. This cowardly desertion of his generous and affectionate friend and patron,—or rather this open revolt from him, this shameless attack upon him in the hour of his extreme distress and total ruin,—forms indeed the foulest of the many blots which stain the memory of this illustrious person: it may even be pronounced, on a deliberate survey of all its circumstances, the basest and most profligate act of that reign, which yet affords examples, in the conduct of its public men, of almost every species of profligacy and baseness. That it continued to be matter of general reproach against him, clearly appears from the long and labored apology which Bacon thought it necessary, several years afterwards, to address to lord Montjoy, then earl of Devon;—an apology which extenuates in no degree the turpitude of the fact; but which may be consulted for a number of highly curious, if authentic, particulars.

The earl of Southampton likewise pleaded Not guilty, and professed his inviolate fidelity towards her majesty: he excused whatever criminality he might have fallen into by the warmth of his attachment for Essex, and behaved throughout with a mildness and an ingenuous modesty which moved all hearts in his favor. After a trial of eleven hours, sentence of Guilty was unanimously pronounced on both the prisoners. Southampton in an affecting manner implored all present to intercede for him with her majesty, and Essex, with great earnestness, joined in this petition of his unfortunate friend: as to himself, he said, he was not anxious for life; wishing for nothing more than to lay it down with entire fidelity towards God and his prince.—Yet he would have no one insinuate to the queen that he despised her mercy, though he believed he should not too submissively implore it; and he hoped all men would in their consciences acquit him, though the law had pronounced him guilty. Such was the lofty tone of self-justification assumed by Essex on this memorable occasion, when his pride was roused and his temper exasperated, by the open war of recrimination and reproaches into which he had so unadvisedly plunged with his personal enemies; and by the cruel and insolent invectives of the crown lawyers. But he was soon to undergo on this point a most remarkable and total change.

The mind of the earl of Essex was deeply imbued with sentiments of religion: from early youth he had conversed much with divines of the stricter class, whom he held in habitual reverence; and conscious in the conduct of his past life of many deviations from the Gospel rule of right, he now, in the immediate prospect of its violent termination, surrendered himself into the hands of these spiritual guides with extraordinary humility and implicit submission. To the criminality of his late attempt, his conscience was not however awakened; he seems to have believed, that in contriving the fall of his enemies, he was at the same time deserving the thanks of his country, oppressed by their maladministration; and he repelled all the efforts of Dr. Dove, by whom he was first visited, to inspire him with a different sense of this part of his conduct. Cut his favorite divine, Mr. Aston,—who is described by a contemporary as "a man base, fearful and mercenary," in whom the earl was much deceived,—practised with more success upon his mind. By an artful pretext of believing him to have aimed at the crown, he first drew him into a warm defence of his conduct on this point; then by degrees into a confession of all that he had really plotted, and the concurrence which he had found from others. This was the end aimed at by Aston, or by the government which employed him: he professed that he could not reconcile it to his conscience to conceal treasons so foul and dangerous; alarmed the earl with all the terrors of religion; and finally persuaded him, that a full discovery of his accomplices was the only atonement which he could make to heaven and earth. The humbled Essex was brought to entreat that several privy-councillors, of whom Cecil by name was one, should be sent to hear his confessions; and so strangely scrupulous did he show himself to leave nothing untold, that he gave up even the letters of the king of Scots, and betrayed every private friend whom attachment to himself had ever seduced into an acquiescence in his designs, or a nice sense of honor withheld from betraying them.

Sir Henry Nevil, for having only concealed projects in which he had absolutely refused to concur, was thus exposed to the loss of his appointment of ambassador to France; to imprisonment, and to a long persecution;—and lord Montjoy might have suffered even capitally, had not his good and acceptable service in Ireland induced the queen to wink at former offences. Cuff, the secretary of the earl, whom he sent for to exhort him to imitate his sincerity, sternly upbraided his master with his altered mind, and his treachery towards those who had evinced the strongest attachment to his service: but the earl remained unmoved by his reproaches, and calmly prepared for death in the full persuasion that he had now worked out his own salvation.

Elizabeth had behaved on occasion of the late insurrection with all her wonted fortitude; even at the time when Essex was actually in the city and a false report was brought her of its revolt to him, "she was never more amazed," says Cecil in a letter to sir George Carew, "than she would have been to have heard of a fray in Fleet-street." But when, in the further progress of the affair, she beheld her once loved Essex brought to the bar for high-treason and condemned by the unanimous verdict of his peers; when it rested solely with herself to take the forfeit of his life or interfere by an act of special grace for his preservation,—her grief, her agitation and her perplexity became extreme. A sense of the many fine qualities and rare endowments of her kinsman,—his courage, his eloquence, his generosity, and the affectionate zeal with which he had served her:—indulgence for the youthful impetuosity which had carried him out of the path of duty, not unmixed with compunction for that severe and contemptuous treatment by which she had exasperated to rebellion the spirit which mildness might have softened into penitence and submission;—above all, the remaining affection which still lurked at the bottom of her heart, pleaded for mercy with a force scarcely to be withstood. On the other hand, the ingratitude, the neglect, the insolence with which he had occasionally treated her, and the magnitude of his offences, which daily grew upon her by his own confessions and those of his accomplices, fatally united to confirm the natural bias of her mind towards severity.

At this juncture Thomas Leigh, one of the dark and desperate characters whose service Essex had used in his criminal negotiations with Tyrone, by an atrocious plot for entering the palace, seizing the person of the queen and compelling her to sign a warrant for the release of the two earls, renewed her fears and gave fresh force to her anger. Irresolute for some days, she once countermanded by a special messenger the order for the death of Essex; then, as repenting of her weakness, she signed a second warrant, in obedience to which he was finally, on February 25th, brought to the scaffold.

The last scene was performed in a manner correspondent in all respects to the contrite and humiliated frame of mind to which the noble culprit had been wrought. It was no longer the brave, the gallant, the haughty earl of Essex, the favorite of the queen, the admiration of the ladies, the darling of the soldiery, the idol of the people;—no longer even the undaunted prisoner, pouring forth invectives against his enemies in answer to the charges against himself; loudly persisting in the innocence of his intentions, instead of imploring mercy for his actions, and defending his honor while he asserted a lofty indifference to life;—it was a meek and penitent offender, profoundly sensible of all his past transgressions, but taught to expect their remission in the world to which he was hastening, through the fervency of his prayers and the plenitude of his confessions; and prepared, as his latest act, to perform in public a solemn religious service, composed for his use by the assistant clergy, whose directions he obeyed with the most scrupulous minuteness. Under a change so entire, even his native eloquence had forsaken him. Sir Robert Cecil, who seems to have been a cool and critical spectator of the fatal scene, remarks to his correspondent that "the conflict between the flesh and the soul did thus far appear, that in his prayers he was fain to be helped; otherwise no man living could pray more christianly than he did."

Essex had requested of the queen that he might be put to death in a private manner within the walls of the Tower, fearing, as he told the divines who attended him, that "the acclamations of the citizens should have hoven him up." His desire in this point was willingly complied with; but about a hundred nobles, knights and gentlemen witnessed the transaction from seats placed near the scaffold. Sir Walter Raleigh chose to station himself at a window of the armory whence he could see all without being observed by the earl. This action, universally imputed to a barbarous desire of glutting his eyes with the blood of the man whom he hated and had pursued with a hostility more unrelenting than that of Cecil himself, was never forgiven by the people, who detested him no less than they loved and admired his unfortunate rival. Several years after, when Raleigh in his turn was brought to the same end in the same place, he professed however, and perhaps truly, that the sorrowful spectacle had melted him to tears: meantime, he at least extracted from the late events large gratification for another ruling passion of his breast, by setting to sale his interest in procuring pardons to gentlemen concerned in the insurrection. Mr. Lyttleton in particular is recorded to have paid him ten thousand pounds for his good offices, and Mr. Bainham a sum not specified. The life of the earl of Southampton was spared, at the intercession chiefly of Cecil, but he was confined in the Tower till the death of the queen: others escaped with short imprisonments and the imposition of fines, few of which were exacted; sir Fulk Greville having humanely made it his business to represent to the queen that no danger was to be apprehended from a faction which had lost its leader. Four only of the principal conspirators suffered capitally; sir Christopher Blount and sir Charles Davers, both catholics, sir Gilly Merrick and Henry Cuff.

Those ambassadors from the king of Scots on whose co-operation Essex had placed his chief reliance, now arrived; and finding themselves too late for other purposes, they obeyed their master's instructions in such a case by offering to the queen his warmest congratulations on her escape from so foul and dangerous a conspiracy. They were further charged to make secret inquiry whether James's correspondence with Essex and concurrence in the late conspiracy had come to her knowledge; and whether any measures were likely to be taken in consequence for his exclusion from the succession. The confessions of Essex to the privy-councillors had indeed rendered Elizabeth perfectly acquainted with the machinations of James; but resolute to refrain during the remnant of her days from all angry discussions with the prince whom she saw destined to succeed her, she had caused the earl to be not only requested, but commanded, to forbear the repetition of this part of his acknowledgements on the scaffold. She was thus left free to receive with all those demonstrations of amity which cost her nothing the compliments of James; and she remained deliberately ignorant of all that he desired her not to know. The Scottish emissaries had the further satisfaction of carrying back to their master assurances of the general consent of Englishmen in his favor, and in particular a pledge of the adherence of secretary Cecil, who immediately opened a private correspondence with the king, of which lord Henry Howard, who had formerly conducted that of Essex, became the willing medium.

There is good evidence that the peace of Elizabeth received an incurable wound by the loss of her unhappy favorite, which she daily found additional cause to regret on perceiving how completely it had delivered her over to the domination of his adversaries; but she still retained the resolution to pursue with unabated vigor the great objects on which she was sensible that the mind of a sovereign ought to be with little remission employed. The memorable siege of Ostend, begun during this summer by the archduke Albert, fixed her attention and that of Europe. The defence was conducted by that able officer sir Francis Vere at the head of a body of English auxiliaries, whom the States had enlisted with the queen's permission, at their own expense. Henry IV., as if for the purpose of observing more nearly the event, had repaired to Calais. The queen of England, earnestly desirous of a personal interview, wrote him two letters on the subject; and Henry sent in return marshal Biron and two other ambassadors of rank, with a train of three or four hundred persons, whom the queen received with high honors, and caused to accompany her in her progress. During her visit of thirteen days to the marquis of Winchester at Basing, the French embassy was lodged at the house of lord Sandys, which was furnished for the occasion with plate and hangings from Hampton-court; the queen defraying all the charges, which were more than those of her own court at Basing. She made it her boast that she had in this progress entertained royally a royal ambassador at her subjects' houses; which she said no other prince could do. The meeting of the two sovereigns, in hopes of which Elizabeth had actually gone to Dover, could not for some unknown reason be at last arranged; but Henry, at the particular instance of his friend and ally, sent Sully over in disguise to confer confidentially with her respecting an important political project which she had announced. This was no less than a plan for humbling the house of Austria, and establishing a more perfect balance of power in Europe by uniting into one state the seventeen Flemish provinces. It was an idea, as Sully declared to her, which had previously occurred to Henry himself; and the coincidence was flattering to both; but various obstacles were found likely to retard its execution till a period to which Elizabeth could scarcely look forward. One advantage, however, was gained to the queen of England by the interview;—the testimony of this celebrated statesman, recorded in his own memoirs, to the solidity of her judgement and the enlargement of her views; and his distinct avowal that she was in all respects worthy of the high estimation which she had for more than forty years enjoyed by common consent of all the politicians of Europe.

Ireland was still a source to Elizabeth of anxiety and embarrassment. In order to sustain the expenses of the war, she suffered herself to be prevailed on to issue base money for the pay of the troops;—a mortifying circumstance, after the high credit which she had gained by that restoration of the coin to its original standard which was one of the first acts of her reign. Montjoy in the meantime was struggling with vigor and progressive success against the disorders of the country. With the assistance of sir George Carew president of Munster, and other able commanders, he was gradually reducing the inferior rebels and cutting off the supplies of Tyrone himself: but the courage of this insurgent was still supported by the hope of aids from Spain; and during this summer two bodies of Spanish troops, one of four thousand, the other of two thousand men, made good their landing. The larger number, under Aquila, took possession of Kinsale; the smaller, under Ocampo, was joined by Tyrone and other rebels with all their forces. The appearance of affairs was alarming, since the catholic Irish every where welcomed the Spaniards as deliverers and brethren: but Montjoy, after blockading Aquila in Kinsale, marched boldly to attack Ocampo and his Irish allies; gave them a complete defeat, in which the Spanish general was made prisoner and Tyrone compelled to fly into Ulster; and afterwards returning to the siege of Kinsale, compelled Aquila to capitulate on condition of a safe conveyance to their own country for himself and all the Spanish troops in the island.

The state of the queen's mind while the fate of Ireland seemed to hang in the balance, and while the impression made by the attempt of Essex was still recent, is depicted in the following letter by sir John Harrington with his usual minuteness and vivacity.

* * * * *

To sir Hugh Portman knight. (Dated October 9th 1601.)

"...For six weeks I left my oxen and sheep and ventured to court.... Much was my comfort in being well received, notwithstanding it is an ill hour for seeing the queen. The madcaps are all in riot, and much evil threatened. In good sooth I feared her majesty more than the rebel Tyrone, and wished I had never received my lord of Essex's honor of knighthood. She is quite disfavored[141] and unattired, and these troubles waste her much. She disregarded every costly cover that cometh to the table, and taketh little but manchet and succory pottage. Every new message from the city doth disturb her, and she frowns on all the ladies. I had a sharp message from her, brought by my lord Buckhurst, namely thus. 'Go tell that witty fellow my godson to get home; it is no season now to fool it here,' I liked this as little as she doth my knighthood, so took to my boots, and returned to the plough in bad weather. I must not say much even by this trusty and sure messenger, but the many evil plots and designs hath overcome all her highness' sweet temper. She walks much in her privy chamber, and stamps with her feet at ill news, and thrusts her rusty sword at times into the arras in great rage. My lord Buckhurst is much with her, and few else since the city business; but the dangers are over, and yet she always keeps a sword by her table. I obtained a short audience at my first coming to court, when her highness told me, if ill counsel had brought me so far from home, she wished heaven might mar that fortune which she had mended. I made my peace in this point, and will not leave my poor castle of Kelston, for fear of finding a worse elsewhere, as others have done. I will eat Aldborne rabbits, and get fish as you recommend from the man at Curry-Rival; and get partridge and hares when I can; and my venison where I can; and leave all great matters to those like them better than myself.... I could not move in any suit to serve your neighbour B. such was the face of things: and so disordered is all order that her highness hath worn but one change of raiment for many days, and swears much at those that cause her griefs in such wise, to the no small discomfiture of all about her, more especially our sweet lady Arundel, that Venus plus quam venusta."

[Note 141: Changed in countenance.]

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In the month of October 1601, the wants of her treasury compelled the queen to call a parliament. Her procession to the house had something gloomy and ominous; the people, still resenting the death of their favorite, whom they never could be taught to regard as a traitor to his sovereign, refused to gratify her ears as formerly with those affectionate acclamations on which this wise and gracious princess had ever placed so high a value. The house of commons however, in consideration of her extraordinary expenses in the Irish wars, granted a supply large beyond example. Having thus deserved well of her majesty, they ventured to revive the topic of monopolies, the crying grievance of the age, against which the former parliament had petitioned her, but without effect. It was universally allowed, that the granting of exclusive privileges to trade in certain articles was a prerogative inherent in the crown; and though the practice so lavishly adopted by Elizabeth of providing in this manner for her courtiers without expense to herself, had rendered the evil almost intolerable, the ministerial members insisted strongly that no right existed in the house to frame a bill for its redress. It was maintained by them, that the dispensing power possessed by the queen would enable her to set at nought any statute which could be made in this matter;—in short, that she was an absolute prince; and consequently that the mode of petition, of which the last parliament had proved the inefficacy, was the only course of proceeding open to them. Other members, in whose bosoms some sparks of liberty had now been kindled, supported the bill which had been offered to the house: the event was, that in the midst of the debate the queen sent for the speaker, to inform him that she would voluntarily cancel some of the patents which had excited most discontent.

This concession, though extorted doubtless by necessity, was yet made with so good a grace, that her faithful commons were filled with admiration and gratitude. One member pronounced the message "a gospel of glad tidings;" others employed phrases of adulation equally profane;—a committee was appointed to return their acknowledgements to her majesty, who kneeled for some time at her feet, while the speaker enlarged upon her "preventing grace and all-deserving goodness," She graciously gave thanks to the commons for pointing out to her abuses which might otherwise have escaped her notice; since the truth, as she observed, was too often disguised from princes by the persons about them, through motives of private interest: and thus, with the customary assurances of her loving care over her loyal subjects, she skilfully accomplished her retreat from a contest in which she judged perseverance to be dangerous and final success at best uncertain. In her farewell speech, however, at the close of the session, she could not refrain from observing, in reference to this matter, that she perceived private respects to be masked with them under public pretences. Such was the final parting between Elizabeth and her last parliament!

The year 1602 was not fertile of domestic incident. One of the most remarkable circumstances was a violent quarrel between the Jesuits and the secular priests in England. The latter accused the former, and not without reason, of having been the occasion, by their assassination-plots and conspiracies against the queen and government, of all the severe enactments under which the English catholics had groaned since the fulmination of the papal bull against her majesty. In the height of this dispute, intelligence was conveyed to the privy-council of some fresh plots on the part of the Jesuits and their adherents; on which a proclamation was immediately issued, banishing this order the kingdom on pain of death; and the same penalty was declared against all secular priests who should refuse to take the oath of allegiance.

The queen continued to pursue from habit, and probably from policy also, amusements for which all her relish was lost. She went a-maying to Air. Buckley's at Lewisham, and paid several other visits in the course of the year;—but her efforts were unavailing; the irrevocable past still hung upon her spirits. About the beginning of June, in a conversation with M. de Beaumont the French ambassador, she owned herself weary of life; then sighing, whilst her eyes filled with tears, she adverted to the death of Essex; and mentioned, that being apprehensive, from his ambition and the impetuosity of his temper, of his throwing himself into some rash design which would prove his ruin, she had repeatedly counselled him, during the two last years, to content himself with pleasing her, and forbear to treat her with the insolent contempt which he had lately assumed; above all, not to touch her sceptre; lest she should be compelled to punish him by the laws of England, and not according to her own laws; which he had found too mild and favorable to give him any cause of fear: but that her advice, however salutary and affectionate, had proved ineffectual to prevent his ruin.

A letter from sir John Harrington to his lady, dated December 27th, 1602, gives the following melancholy picture of the state of his sovereign and benefactress.

* * * * *

"Sweet Mall;

"I herewith send thee what I would God none did know, some ill-bodings of the realm and its welfare. Our dear queen, my royal godmother and this state's natural mother, doth now bear some show of human infirmity; too fast, for that evil which we shall get by her death, and too slow, for that good which she shall get by her releasement from pains and misery. Dear Mall, how shall I speak what I have seen or what I have felt? thy good silence in these matters emboldens my pen. For thanks to the sweet God of silence, thy lips do not wanton out of discretion's path like the many gossiping dames we could name, who lose their husbands' fast hold in good friends rather than hold fast their own tongues. Now I will trust thee with great assurance; and whilst thou dost brood over thy young ones in the chamber, thou shalt read the doings of thy grieving mate in the court. I find some less mindful of what they are soon to lose, than of what they may perchance hereafter get: Now, on my own part, I cannot blot from my memory's table the goodness of our sovereign lady to me, even, I will say, before born. Her affection to my mother, who waited in privy-chamber, her bettering the state of my father's fortune (which I have, alas, so much worsted), her watchings over my youth, her liking to my free speech and admiration of my little learning and poesy, which I did so much cultivate on her command, have rooted such love, such dutiful remembrance of her princely virtues, that to turn askant from her condition with tearless eyes, would stain and foul the spring and fount of gratitude. It was not many days since I was bidden to her presence; I blessed the happy moment, and found her in most pitiable state; she bade the archbishop ask me if I had seen Tyrone? I replied with reverence, that I had seen him with the lord deputy; she looked up with much choler and grief in her countenance, and said: O! now it mindeth me that you was one who saw this man elsewhere[142], and hereat she dropped a tear and smote her bosom; she held in her hand a golden cup, which she often put to her lips; but in truth her heart seemeth too full to need more filling. This sight moved me to think of what passed in Ireland, and I trust she did not less think on some who were busier there than myself. She gave me a message to the lord deputy, and bade me come to the chamber at seven o'clock. Hereat some who were about her did marvel, as I do not hold so high place as those she did not choose to do her commands.... Her majesty inquired of some matters which I had written; and as she was pleased to note my fanciful brain, I was not unheedful to feed her humour, and read some verses, whereat she smiled once, and was pleased to say: 'When thou dost feel creeping time at thy gate, these fooleries will please thee less; I am past my relish for such matters; thou seest my bodily meat doth not suit me well; I have eaten but one ill-tasted cake since yesternight.' She rated most grievously at noon at some one who minded not to bring up certain matters of account: several men have been sent to, and when ready at hand, her highness hath dismissed in anger; but who, dearest Mall, shall say, that 'your highness hath forgotten?'"

[Note 142: Harrington had been at a conference held with him by Essex; for which he had been severely rated by the queen.]

* * * * *

During the campaign of 1602, lord Montjoy had been occupied in Ireland in reducing the inferior rebels to submission; in building forts and planting garrisons; at the same time wasting the country in every direction, for the purpose of straitening the quarters of Tyrone and cutting off his supplies. At length, having collected all his forces, he purposed to hazard an attack on the chieftain himself, in the midst of the desert fastnesses to which he had driven him; but the difficulties which he experienced from the impassable state of the roads, the treachery of scouts and the inclemency of the season, compelled him to defer this undertaking till the return of spring. Meantime, such was the extremity of distress to which Tyrone had been reduced, that numbers of his people had perished by hunger; and perceiving the remnant fast diminishing by daily desertion, he renewed the offer of surrender on certain conditions which he had propounded some months before. At that time, Cecil had once prevailed upon her majesty, for the sake of avoiding the intolerable expense of a further prosecution of the Irish war, to sign the rebel's pardon;—but she had immediately retracted the concession, and all that he was able finally to gain of her, by the intercession of the French ambassador, was a promise, that if Tyrone were not taken by the lord deputy before winter, she would consent to pardon him. About Christmas her council urged upon her the fulfilment of this engagement; but she replied with warmth, that she would not begin at her age to treat with her subjects, nor leave such an ill example after her decease[143].

[Note 143: Carte.]

The importunities of her ministers, however, among whom Tyrone is said to have made himself friends, finally overpowered the reluctance of the queen; and she authorized the deputy to grant the rebel his life, with some part of the terms which he asked; but so extreme was her mortification in making this concession, that many have regarded it as the origin of that deep melancholy to which she soon after fell a victim. The council apprehended, or affected to apprehend, that Tyrone would still refuse to surrender on the hard conditions imposed by the queen; but so desperate was now his situation, that without even waiting to receive them, he had thrown himself at the feet of the deputy and submitted his lands and life to the queen's mercy. Ministers more resolute, or more disinterested, might therefore have spared her the degradation, as she regarded it, of treating with a rebel. The news of his final submission, which occurred four days only before her death, she never learned.

* * * * *

The closing scene of the long and eventful life of queen Elizabeth is all that now remains to be described; but that marked peculiarity of character and of destiny which has attended her from the cradle, pursues her to the grave, and forbids us to hurry over as trivial and uninteresting the melancholy detail.

Notwithstanding the state of bodily and mental indisposition in which she was beheld by Harrington at the close of the year 1602, the queen had persisted in taking her usual exercises of riding and hunting, regardless of the inclemencies of the season. One day in January she visited the lord admiral, probably at Chelsea, and about the same time she removed to her palace of Richmond.

In the beginning of March her illness suddenly increased; and it was about this time that her kinsman Robert Cary arrived from Berwick to visit her. In his own memoirs he has thus related the circumstances which he witnessed on this occasion.

"When I came to court I found the queen ill-disposed, and she kept her inner lodging; yet she, hearing of my arrival, sent for me. I found her in one of her withdrawing chambers, sitting low upon her cushions. She called me to her; I kissed her hand, and told her it was my chiefest happiness to see her in safety and in health, which I wished might long continue. She took me by the hand, and wrung it hard, and said, 'No, Robin, I am not well;' and then discoursed with me of her indisposition, and that her heart had been sad and heavy for ten or twelve days, and in her discourse she fetched not so few as forty or fifty great sighs. I was grieved at the first to see her in this plight; for in all my lifetime I never knew her fetch a sigh, but when the queen of Scots was beheaded. Then, upon my knowledge, she shed many tears and sighs, manifesting her innocence, that she never gave consent to the death of that queen.

"I used the best words I could to persuade her from this melancholy humour; but I found by her it was too deep rooted in her heart, and hardly to be removed. This was upon a Saturday night, and she gave command that the great closet should be prepared for her to go to chapel the next morning. The next day, all things being in a readiness, we long expected her coming. After eleven o'clock, one of the grooms came out and bade make ready for the private closet, she would not go to the great. There we stayed long for her coming, but at last she had cushions laid for her in her privy-chamber hard by the closet door, and there she heard service.

"From that day forward she grew worse and worse. She remained upon her cushions four days and nights at the least. All about her could not persuade her either to take any sustenance or go to bed.... The queen grew worse and worse because she would be so, none about her being able to go to bed. My lord-admiral was sent for, (who by reason of my sister's death, that was his wife, had absented himself some fortnight from court;) what by fair means what by force, he gat her to bed. There was no hope of her recovery, because she refused all remedies.

"On Wednesday the 23rd of March she grew speechless. That afternoon by signs she called for her council, and by putting her hand to her head when the king of Scots was named to succeed her, they all knew he was the man she desired should reign after her.

"About six at night she made signs for the archbishop and her chaplains to come to her; at which time I went in with them and sat upon my knees full of tears to see that heavy sight. Her majesty lay upon her back with one hand in the bed and the other without. The bishop kneeled down by her and examined her first of her faith; and she so punctually answered all his several questions, by lifting up her eyes and holding up her hand, as it was a comfort to all the beholders.... After he had continued long in prayer, till the old man's knees were weary, he blessed her; and meant to rise and leave her. The queen made a sign with her hand. My sister Scrope, knowing her meaning, told the bishop the queen desired he would pray still. He did so for a long half hour after, and then thought to leave her. The second time she made sign to have him continue in prayer. He did so for half an hour more, with earnest cries to God for her soul's health, which he uttered with that fervency of spirit, as the queen to all our sight much rejoiced thereat, and gave testimony to us all of her christian and comfortable end. By this time it grew late, and every one departed, all but her women that attended her.... Between one and two o'clock of the Thursday morning, he that I left in the cofferer's chamber brought me word that the queen was dead."

A Latin letter written the day after her death to Edmund Lambert, whether by one of her physicians or not is uncertain, gives an account of her sickness in no respect contradictory to Robert Cary's.

"It was after laboring for nearly three weeks under a morbid melancholy, which brought on stupor not unmixed with some indications of a disordered fancy, that the queen expired. During all this time she could neither by reasoning, entreaties, or artifices be brought to make trial of any medical aid, and with difficulty was persuaded to receive sufficient nourishment to sustain nature; taking also very little sleep, and that not in bed, but on cushions, where she would sit whole days motionless and sleepless; retaining however the vigor of her intellect to her last breath, though deprived for three days before her death of the power of speech."

Another contemporary writes to his friend thus.... "No doubt you shall hear her majesty's sickness and manner of death diversly reported; for even here the papists do tell strange stories, as utterly void of truth as of all civil honesty or humanity.... Here was some whispering that her brain was somewhat distempered, but there was no such matter; only she held an obstinate silence for the most part; and, because she had a persuasion that if she once lay down she should never rise, could not be got to go to bed in a whole week, till three days before her death.... She made no will, neither gave any thing away; so that they which come after shall find a well-furnished jewel-house and a rich wardrobe of more than two thousand gowns, with all things else answerable[144]."

[Note 144: Printed in Nichols's Progresses.]

That a profound melancholy was either the cause, or at least a leading symptom, of the last illness of the queen, so many concurring testimonies render indisputable; but the origin of this affection has been variously explained. Some, as we have seen, ascribed it to her chagrin on being in a manner compelled to grant the pardon of Tyrone;—a cause disproportioned surely to the effect. Others have imagined it to arise from grief and indignation at the neglect which she began to experience from the venal throng of courtiers, who were hastening to pay timely homage to her successor. By others, again, her dejection has been regarded as nothing more than a natural concomitant of bodily decay; a physical rather than a mental malady. But the prevalent opinion, even at the time, appears to have been, that the grief or compunction for the death of Essex, with which she had long maintained a secret struggle, broke forth in the end superior to control, and rapidly completed the overthrow of powers which the advances of old age and an accumulation of cares and anxieties had already undermined. "Our queen," writes an English correspondent to a Scotch nobleman in the service of James, "is troubled with a rheum in her arm, which vexeth her very much, besides the grief she hath conceived for my lord of Essex's death. She sleepeth not so much by day as she used, neither taketh rest by night. Her delight is to sit in the dark, and sometimes, with shedding tears, to bewail Essex."

A remarkable anecdote first published in Osborn's Traditional Memoirs of Queen Elizabeth, and confirmed by M. Maurier's Memoirs,—where it is given on the authority of sir Dudley Carleton the English ambassador in Holland, who related it to prince Maurice,—offers the solution of these doubts. According to this story, the countess of Nottingham, who was a relation, but no friend, of the earl of Essex, being on her death-bed, entreated to see the queen; declaring that she had something to confess to her before she could die in peace. On her majesty's arrival, the countess produced a ring, which she said the earl of Essex had sent to her after his condemnation, with an earnest request that she would deliver it to the queen, as the token by which he implored her mercy; but which, in obedience to her husband, to whom she had communicated the circumstance, she had hitherto withheld; for which she entreated the queen's forgiveness. On sight of the ring, Elizabeth instantly recognised it as one which she had herself presented to her unhappy favorite on his departure for Cadiz, with the tender promise, that of whatsoever crimes his enemies might have accused him, or whatsoever offences he might actually have committed against her, on his returning to her that pledge, she would either pardon him, or admit him at least to justify himself in her presence. Transported at once with grief and rage, on learning the barbarous infidelity of which the earl had been the victim and herself the dupe, the queen shook in her bed the dying countess, and vehemently exclaiming, that God might forgive her, but she never could, flung out of the chamber.

Returning to her palace, she surrendered herself without resistance to the despair which seized her heart on this fatal and too late disclosure.—Hence her refusal of medicine and almost of food;—hence her obstinate silence interrupted only by sighs, groans, and broken hints of a deep sorrow which she cared not to reveal;—hence the days and nights passed by her seated on the floor, sleepless, her eyes fixed and her finger pressed upon her mouth;—hence, in short, all those heart-rending symptoms of incurable and mortal anguish which conducted her, in the space of twenty days, to the lamentable termination of a long life of power, prosperity and glory[145].

[Note 145: See the evidence for this extraordinary story fully stated in Birch's Negotiations. On the whole, it appears sufficient to warrant our belief; yet it should be remarked that the accounts which have come down to us differ from each other in some important points, and are traceable to no original witness of the interview between the queen and the countess.]

* * * * *

The queen expired on March 24th 1603.

* * * * *

After the minute and extended survey of the life and actions of Elizabeth which has made the principal business of these pages, it would be a trespass alike on the patience and the judgement of the reader to detain him with a formal review of her character;—let it suffice to complete the portrait by a few additional touches.

The ceremonial of her court rivalled the servility of the East: no person of whatever rank ventured to address her otherwise than kneeling; and this attitude was preserved by all her ministers during their audiences of business, with the exception of Burleigh, in whose favor, when aged and infirm, she dispensed with its observance. Hentzner, a German traveller who visited England near the conclusion of her reign, relates, that as she passed through several apartments from the chapel to dinner, wherever she turned her eyes he observed the spectators throw themselves on their knees. The same traveller further relates, that the officers and ladies whose business it was to arrange the dishes and give tastes of them to the yeomen of the guard by whom they were brought in, did not presume to approach the royal table, without repeated prostrations and genuflexions and every mark of reverence due to her majesty in person.

The appropriation of her time and the arrangements of her domestic life present more favorable traits.

"First in the morning she spent some time at her devotions; then she betook herself to the dispatch of her civil affairs, reading letters, ordering answers, considering what should be brought before the council, and consulting with her ministers. When she had thus wearied herself, she would walk in a shady garden or pleasant gallery, without any other attendance than that of a few learned men. Then she took her coach and passed in the sight of her people to the neighbouring groves and fields, and sometimes would hunt or hawk. There was scarce a day but she employed some part of it in reading and study; sometimes before she entered upon her state affairs, sometimes after them[146]."

[Note 146: Bohun's Character of Queen Elizabeth.]

She slept little, seldom drank wine, was sparing in her diet, and a religious observer of the fasts. She sometimes dined alone, but more commonly had with her some of her friends. "At supper she would divert herself with her friends and attendants, and if they made her no answer would put them upon mirth and pleasant discourse with great civility. She would then also admit Tarleton, a famous comedian and pleasant talker, and other such men, to divert her with stories of the town and the common jests and accidents."

"She would recreate herself with a game of chess, dancing or singing.... She would often play at cards and tables, and if at any time she happened to win, she would be sure to demand the money.... She was waited on in her bed-chamber by married ladies of the nobility; the marchioness of Winchester widow, lady Warwick, and lady Scrope; and here she would seldom suffer any to wait upon her but Leicester, Hatton, Essex, Nottingham, and Raleigh.... Some lady always slept in her chamber; and besides her guards, there was always a gentleman of good quality and some others up in the next chamber, to wake her if any thing extraordinary happened[147]."

[Note 147: Bohun's Character of Queen Elizabeth.]

"She loved a prudent and moderate habit in her private apartment and conversation with her own servants; but when she appeared in public she was ever richly adorned with the most valuable clothes; set off again with much gold and jewels of inestimable value; and on such occasions she ever wore high shoes, that she might seem taller than indeed she was. The first day of the parliament she would appear in a robe embroidered with pearls, the royal crown on her head, the golden ball in her left hand and the sceptre in her right; and as she never failed then of the loud acclamations of her people, so she was ever pleased with it, and went along in a kind of triumph with all the ensigns of majesty. The royal name was ever venerable to the English people; but this queen's name was more sacred than any of her ancestors.... In the furniture of her palaces she ever affected magnificence and an extraordinary splendor. She adorned the galleries with pictures by the best artists; the walls she covered with rich tapestries. She was a true lover of jewels, pearls, all sorts of precious stones, gold and silver plate, rich beds, fine couches and chariots, Persian and Indian carpets, statues, medals, &c. which she would purchase at great prices. Hampton-court was the most richly furnished of all her palaces; and here she had caused her naval victories against the Spaniards to be worked in fine tapestries and laid up among the richest pieces of her wardrobe.... When she made any public feasts, her tables were magnificently served and many side-tables adorned with rich plate. At these times many of the nobility waited on her at table. She made the greatest displays of her regal magnificence when foreign ambassadors were present. At these times she would also have vocal and instrumental music during dinner; and after dinner, dancing[148]."

[Note 148: Bohun's Character of Queen Elizabeth.]

The queen was laudably watchful over the morals of her court; and not content with dismissing from her service, or banishing her presence, such of her female attendants as were found offending against the laws of chastity, she was equitable enough to visit with marks of her displeasure the libertinism of the other sex; and in several instances she deferred the promotion of otherwise deserving young men till she saw them reform their manners in this respect. Europe had assuredly never beheld a court so decent, so learned, or so accomplished as hers; and it will not be foreign from the purpose of illustrating more fully the character of the sovereign, to borrow from a contemporary writer a few particulars on this head.

It was rare to find a courtier acquainted with no language but his own. The ladies studied Latin, Greek, Spanish, Italian, and French. The "more ancient" among them exercised themselves some with the needle, some with "caul work," (probably netting) "divers in spinningsilk, some in continual reading either of the Scriptures or of histories either of their own or foreign countries; divers in writing volumes of their own, or translating the works of others into Latin or English;" while the younger ones in the meantime applied to their "lutes, citharnes, pricksong and all kinds of music." Many of the elder sort were also "skilful in surgery and distillation of waters, beside sundry artificial practices pertaining to the ornature and commendations of their bodies." "This," adds our author, "I will generally say of them all; that as each of them are cunning in something whereby they keep themselves occupied in the court, there is in manner none of them but when they be at home can help to supply the ordinary want of the kitchen with a number of delicate dishes of their own devising, wherein the portingal is their chief counsellor, as some of them are most commonly with the clerk of the kitchen," &c.

"Every office," at court, had "either a Bible or the book of the Acts and Monuments of the Church of England, or both, besides some histories and chronicles lying therein, for the exercise of such as come into the same[149]."

[Note 149: Description of England prefixed to Holinshed's Chronicles.]

Such was the scene over which Elizabeth presided;—such the companions whom she formed to herself, and in whom she delighted! The new men and new manners brought in by James I. served more fully to instruct the nation in the value of all that it had enjoyed under his illustrious predecessor, the vigor which had rendered her government respectable abroad; and the wise and virtuous moderation which caused it to beloved at home, were now recalled with that sense of irreparable loss which exalts to enthusiasm the sentiment of veneration and the principle of gratitude; and almost in the same proportion as the sanguinary bigotry of her predecessor had occasioned her accession to be desired, the despicable weakness of her successor caused her decease to be regretted and deplored.

It was on the tenth anniversary of the proclamation of king James that the eloquent Hall, in his sermon at Paul's Cross, gave utterance to the general sentiment in the following animated apostrophe to the manes of the departed sovereign:

* * * * *

"O blessed queen! the mother of this nation, the nurse of this church, the glory of womanhood, the envy and example of foreign nations, the wonder of times, how sweet and sacred shall thy memory be to all posterity!—How excellent were her masculine graces of learning, valor and wisdom, by which she might justly challenge to be the queen of men! So learned was she, that she could give present answer to ambassadors in their own tongues; so valiant, that like Zisca's drum made the proudest Romanist to quake; so wise, that whatsoever fell out happily against the common adversary in France, Netherland, Ireland, it was by themselves ascribed to her policy.

"Why should I speak of her long and successful government, of her miraculous preservations; of her famous victories, wherein the waters, wind, fire and earth fought for us, as if they had been in pay under her; of her excellent laws and careful execution? Many daughters have done worthily, but thou surmountedest them all. Such was the sweetness of her government and such the fear of misery in her loss, that many worthy christians desired that their eyes might be closed before hers.... Every one pointed to her white hairs, and said, with that peaceable Leontius, "When this snow melteth there will be a flood."

* * * * *

In the progress of the preceding work, I have inserted some incidental notices respecting the domestic architecture of the reign of Elizabeth; but becoming gradually sensible of the interesting details of which the subject was susceptible and entirely aware of my own inability to do it justice, I solicited, and esteem myself fortunate in having procured, the following remarks from the pen of a brother who makes this noble art at once his profession and his delight.



The Reign of Elizabeth.

DURING the period of English history included in our present survey, the nobility continued for the most part to inhabit their ancient castles; edifices which, originally adapted by strength of situation and construction merely to defence, were now in many instances, by the alteration of the original buildings and by the accession of additional ones, become splendid palaces. Among these it may be sufficient to mention Kennelworth, renowned for gorgeous festivities, where the earl of Leicester was reported to have expended 60,000 pounds in buildings.

Some curious notices of the habitations of the time are preserved in Leland's Itinerary, written about 1535, as in the following description of Wresehill-castle near Howden in Yorkshire:—'Most part of the base court is of timber. The castle is moted about on three parts; the fourth part is dry, where the entry is into the castle. Five towers, one at each corner; the gateway is the fifth, having five lodgings in height; three of the other towers have four lodgings in height; the fourth containeth the buttery, pantry, pastry, lardery, and kitchen. In one of the towers a study called Paradise, where was a closet in the middle of eight squares latticed; about and at the top of every square was a desk lodged to set books on, &c. The garde robe in the castle was exceeding fair, and so were the gardens within the mote and the orchards without; and in the orchards were mounts opere topiario writhen about with degrees like turnings of a cockle-shell, to come to top without pain.'

These castles, though converted into dwellings of some convenience and magnificence, still retained formidable strength, which was proved in the following century, when so many of them sustained sieges for the king or parliament and were finally dilapidated.

Besides the regularly fortified castles, there were many mansion-houses of inferior importance, which, though not capable of resisting a regular siege, were strengthened against a tumultuous or hasty invasion. These houses generally formed a square of building enclosing a court and surrounded by a moat. A drawbridge formed the only access, which was protected by an embattled gatehouse. One side of the square was principally occupied by a great hall; and the offices and lodgings were distributed on the other sides. Oxburgh-hall in Norfolk and Layer Marney in Essex are fine examples of these houses. They were frequently of timber, as Moreton-hall in Cheshire, Speke-hall near Liverpool. Leland describes Morley-house near Manchester as 'builded,—saving the foundation of stone squared that riseth within a great mote a 6 foot above the water,—all of timber, after the common sort of building of the gentlemen for most of Lancashire.' Sometimes a strong tower was added at one corner as a citadel, which might be maintained when the rest of the house was destroyed. This is the case with the curious house of Stoke Say in Shropshire, where the situation near the Welsh border might render such an additional security desirable.

Thus the forms of ancient fortification were continued awhile rather from habit or ostentation than from any more important motives; but in the new buildings erected during the reign of Elizabeth and her successor they were finally laid aside. In some stately houses, though the show of strength was discontinued, the general form remained however the same. The circuit of building was entire, and enclosed one or more courts; a gateway formed the entrance, and the great hall was placed at the opposite side of the first court. Such was Audley End, in its original state one of the largest and most sumptuous houses in the kingdom. In other instances the house assumes the half H shape, with the offices placed in the wings; and the circuit is only completed by terraces and low walls; the gatehouse remains as a detached lodge, or is entirely omitted: examples of this form are numerous; as Holland-house at Kensington, Oxnead and Blickling halls in Norfolk, Beaudesert and Wimbledon-house, built by sir Thomas Cecil in 1588, remarkable for a great ascent of steps and terraces disposed in a manner resembling some Italian villas. In others the offices are detached in separate masses, or concealed, or placed in a basement story; and only the body of the house remains, either as a solid mass or enclosing small courts: this disposition does not differ from the most modern arrangements. Of these houses Longleat in Wiltshire and Wollaton near Nottingham are fine examples[150].

[Note 150: Views of most of the buildings here mentioned may be found in Britton's Architectural Antiquities, vols. i. ii. and iv.]

The distribution of domestic buildings is well illustrated in the Survey of Theobald's taken by the Parliament's Commissioners in 1650[151]. This mansion was built by lord Burleigh about 1560: it afterwards became a favourite residence of James I. who received it from lord Salisbury in exchange for the manor and palace of Hatfield. The Survey contains a very minute and accurate description of Theobald's palace, from which the following account is given partly in the words of the old surveyors.—It consisted of two principal quadrangles besides the dial court, the buttery court and the dove-house court, in which the offices were situated. The fountain court was a square of 86 feet, on the east side of which was a cloister of seven arches. On the ground floor of this quadrangle was a spacious hall; the roof of which was arched with carved timber of curious workmanship. On the same floor were the lord Holland's, the marquis of Hamilton's, and lord Salisbury's apartments, the council chamber and waiting room. On the second floor was the presence chamber, finished with carved oak wainscoting and a ceiling full of gilded pendants. Also the privy chamber, the withdrawing room, the king's bed-chamber, and a gallery 123 feet long, 'wainscoted with oak, and paintings over the same of divers cities, rarely painted and set forth with a fret ceiling, with divers pendants, roses and flower-de-luces; also divers large stags heads, which were an excellent ornament to the same.' On the upper floor were the lord chamberlain's lodgings and several other apartments, with terrace walks on the leads. At each corner stood a high and fair tower, and over the hall in the middle 'a large and fair turret in the fashion of a lantern, curiously wrought with divers pinnacles at each corner, wherein hangeth 12 bells for chiming and a clock with chimes and sundry work.' The middle court was a quadrangle of 110 feet square, on the south side of which were the queen's chapel, presence chamber, and other apartments. The prince's lodgings were on the north side; on the east side was a cloister, over which was the green gallery, 109 feet by 12 feet, 'excellently well painted with the several shires in England and the arms of the noblemen and gentlemen in the same.' Over the gallery was a leaded walk, on which were two lofty arches of brick, 'of no small ornament to the house, and rendering it comely and pleasant to all that passed by.' On the west side of the quadrangle was another cloister, on five arches, over which were the duke's lodgings and over them the queen's gallery. On the south side of the house stood a large open cloister, built upon several large fair pillars, arched over 'with a fair rail and ballustres; well painted with the kings and queens of England and the pedigree of the old lord Burleigh and divers other ancient families; with paintings of many castles and battles.' The gardens at Theobald's were large, and ornamented with labyrinths, canals and fountains. The great garden contained seven acres; besides which there were the pheasant garden, privy garden, and laundry garden. In the former were nine knots artificially and exquisitely made, one of which was set forth in likeness of the king's arms. This description, and Bacon's idea of a palace in his 45th Essay, with their numerous cloisters, galleries and turrets, are well illustrated by the plan of Audley End, in its original state, given in Britton's Architectural Antiquities, vol. ii.

[Note 151: Lysons's Environs of London, vol. iv.]

The houses erected during the sixteenth and the early part of the seventeenth century were frequently of magnificent dimensions, picturesque from the varied lines and projections of the plan and elevation, and rich by the multiplicity of parts; but they had lost all beauty of detail. The builders, having abandoned the familiar and long practised Gothic style, were now to serve their apprenticeship in Grecian architecture: 'stately Doricke and neat Ionicke work' were introduced as fashionable novelties, employed first in the porches and frontispieces and gradually extended over the whole fronts of buildings. Among the architects employed at this period some foreign names occur. Holbein was much favoured by Henry VIII., and gave various designs for buildings at the old palaces of Whitehall and St. James. John of Padua had a salary as deviser of his majesty's buildings, and was employed to build the palace of the protector Somerset. Jerome de Trevisi is also mentioned; and it is said that the designs for Longleat and a model of Audley End were obtained from Italy. The last circumstance is altogether extraordinary; this was the very best period of Italian architecture, and it seems highly improbable that semi-barbarous designs should proceed from the country of Palladio and Vignola. Thorpe, Smithson, and other Englishmen, were also eminent builders; and probably these persons might have travelled, and thus have gained the imperfect knowledge of Grecian architecture which appears in their works. They were immediately followed by Inigo Jones, who formed his style particularly on the works of Palladio, and became the founder of classic architecture in this country.

There is a remarkable and beautiful analogy between the progress of Grecian and Gothic architecture, in both of which we find, that while the powers of decoration were extended, the process of construction was improved and simplified. Thus the Doric, the primitive order, is full of difficulties in its arrangement, which render it only applicable to simple plans and to buildings where the internal distribution is of inferior consequence. The Ionic, though more ornamental, is by the suppression of the divisions in the frieze so simplified as to be readily applicable to more complicated arrangements: still the capital presents difficulties from the dissimilarity of the front and sides; which objection is finally obviated by the introduction of that rich and exquisite composition, the Corinthian capital. Thus is obtained an order of the most elegant and ornamented character, but possessing a happy simplicity and regularity of composition which renders it more easy of application than any other. In like manner in the later, which has been called the florid style of Gothic architecture, there are buildings astonishingly rich and elaborate; but we find this excess of ornament supported and rendered practicable by a principle of simplicity in design and construction. In the earlier and middle styles of Gothic there are various difficulties of execution and some faults of composition: such as the slender detached shafts, the richly carved capitals, the flowing and varied tracery of windows, and that profuse variety in detail which frequently causes all the windows, capitals, buttresses and pinnacles of the same buildings to differ from one another. But the later style has more uniformity in corresponding parts; the capitals are very generally composed of plain mouldings, and the divisions of the windows consist chiefly of horizontal and perpendicular lines, with few of the beautiful and difficult combinations of curves which are found in the preceding style. The general principle of decoration is to leave no plain surface, but to divide the whole into a series of pannelling; by which is produced an extraordinary richness of effect, though the parts, when examined separately, are generally of simple forms and such as will admit of an easy and mechanical execution. The introduction of the four-centred arch enlarged the powers of design, enabled architects in many instances to proportion better the vault to the upright, and even to introduce vaults where they would have been inapplicable in the former style, on account of the want of elevation in rooms; as in the divinity school at Oxford. Without concurring in the ignorant wonder which has raised the vaulted ceilings of this style to the rank of mysteries, we may admire the ingenuity which has rendered real simplicity of construction the foundation of beautiful forms and of the most elaborate decoration. The most celebrated examples of this style are so highly finished, so exuberant in ornament, that the term florid has been applied as a characteristic epithet for the style; but there are many instances of very simple and unornamented buildings of the same period agreeing in all the essential principles of construction and design; and a late writer has with more propriety adopted the term perpendicular for this mode of architecture. This later Gothic, easy of construction and possessing a variety of character applicable to every kind of building, is well adapted for modern imitation.

But the power of mutability was at work, and Gothic architecture was doomed to fall. The first step towards its decline was pursuing to excess the principle of simplification and retrenching the most essential ornaments. The large windows of houses were merely divided by horizontal and upright bars, and, deprived of tracery and feathering, were as void of beauty in the details as in the general proportions; buttresses and battlements were generally omitted. A great deterioration took place in the decorative part; the ornamental pannels and freizes of the Gothic style, consisting of geometrical combinations of circles and straight lines, had always a distinct outline and a sharpness of effect which contrasted agreeably with the foliage so often intermixed; but these were succeeded by strange grotesque combinations, confused, and void of outline and regularity. The source of ornament was now sought in the orders and members of Grecian architecture; but the eyes which had been accustomed to the Gothic flutter of parts, were not prepared to relish the simplicity of line which is essential to the beauty of the Greek style. Columns of a small size, inaccurately and coarsely executed, with arcades and grotesque caryatids, formed the ornaments of porches and frontispieces,—as at Browseholme-house in Yorkshire, Wimbledon, and the Schools-tower at Oxford,—or were spread over the whole front and formed the cloisters and galleries in which those ancient mansions abounded; as at Holland-house, Longleat, Wollaton, Audley End, Longford-castle, &c. The roofs were either faced with notched and curved gables, or screened by parapets of ballustres or latticed work and decorated with obelisks and columnar chimney shafts; while turrets and pavilions broke the line of elevation. The windows were very large, and frequently bowed: thus Bacon remarks, in the Essay before referred to, that 'you shall have sometimes fair houses so full of glass that one cannot tell where to become to be out of the sun or cold.' In wooden houses and particularly town houses, the upper stories generally projected beyond the lower, with windows extremely wide, so as to occupy almost the whole line of front. The timbers were frequently left bare, carved and disposed in forms of pannelling; while the various projections were supported by grotesque figures. Very curious houses of this character are still found in several old towns, as Chester, Shrewsbury, Coventry, and the obscure parts of London; though natural decay, fire and modern improvements, are continually diminishing their number. Among interior decorations, chimney-pieces were very conspicuous: they were miniature frontispieces, consisting, like the porches of the houses, of a mass of columns, arches, niches and caryatids, piled up to the ceiling. Of these there is one at the old Tabley-hall in Cheshire singularly rude and grotesque, though dated so late as 1619, containing a hunting-piece and the figures of Lucrece and Cleopatra. Another in queen Elizabeth's gallery at Windsor Castle is very rich, and comparatively pure and elegant in design. The sepulchral monuments of this age are very numerous, but only differ from those of an earlier date in the substitution of the members of Grecian for those of Gothic architecture, or rather in the confused mixture of both.

On the whole, this, though a glorious period for literature, was lost for the fine arts. The incongruous mixture of the conflicting principles of Grecian and Gothic architecture produced buildings more truly barbarous, more disgusting to a cultivated taste, than the rudest Norman work. Together with the architectural orders, our artists had received models and authorities for the grotesque style, which they were but too ready to follow. This extraordinary style of ornament had prevailed in ancient Rome early enough to be reprobated in the work of Vitruvius, and lay unobserved among obscure and subterraneous ruins till the discovery of the Baths of Titus opened a rich magazine of gay and capricious ornament. Raffaelle, struck with these remains of the antique art of painting, adopted the same style of ornament in the galleries of the Vatican, enriching and enlivening it with the stores of allegory and mythology furnished by his poetical fancy. The example of such a man could not want imitators; it influenced the whole architecture of France,—which very early possessed artists of great merit,—and appeared in this country with very inferior effect. It may well be imagined that this style, naturally licentious and only rendered tolerable by grace of composition and brilliancy of execution, would become utterly contemptible when presenting only coarsely executed and unmeaning extravagances. Such was the general character of art. We may however make discriminations, and admit comparative merit. Wimbledon-house, seated on the side of a hill, was remarkable for a magnificent disposition of steps and terraces worthy an Italian villa. Wollaton-hall is admired by Mr. Price for the grandeur of its masses. Charlton-house has a very picturesque arrangement of heights in the elevation; Longleat, on the other hand, has much simplicity of form. In its square projections and three orders of columns, or pilasters, it bears no remote resemblance to the ancient part of the Louvre built about thirty years previously, though without the purity and delicacy of the details of the architecture and sculpture which distinguish the French building.


Liverpool, February 10, 1818.


Alencon, duke of, II 22. 56. created duke of Anjou, 71. visits the queen, ib. His second visit, 98 et seq death, 103.

Anjou, duke of, 451. II. 11. See Alencon.

Anne of Cleves, 48. 49. 52. 53. 133.

Arragon, Catherine of, 3. 15.

Arundel, sir Thomas, case of, II. 370.

Ascham, Roger, extracts from his Latin letters, 92 et seq, 97, 98, 99 et seq.

Ashley, Mrs. 194.

Aston, sir Roger, II. 414.

Aylmer or Elmer (bishop), on the dress of Elizabeth, 98. 99. II. 65.


Babington, Anthony, II. 166. 168.

Bacon, sir Nicholas, 257. Employed in the settlement of religion, 320. In disgrace, 366 and 7. II. 81 et seq.

——, Anthony, II. 86. 343.

——, Francis, II. 83. 337. 339 to 343. 346 to 350. His letter to the earl of Essex, 380. Speeches written by, 385. Base conduct of, 434.

Beddingfield, sir II. 171. 174. 176. 177.

Bertie, Peregrine, lord Willoughby, II. 117. 119. 120. Letter to, from the queen, II. 357.

Blount, sir Charles, lord Montjoy, II. 221. 256 et seq. 351. 427 and 8. 464. 482. 490.

Boleyn, Thomas, earl of Wilts, 10.

Boleyn, Anne, 2, 3, and 4. Conduct respecting queen Catherine, 16. Disgrace, 16. 17. Conduct as affecting her daughter, 19 et seq.

Bonner, bishop, 148. 150. 183.

Bourchier family, 49. 50.

——, Henry, earl of Essex, 7.

Brandon, Charles, duke of Suffolk, 9. II. 117 et seq.

——, Catherine, duchess dowager of Suffolk, 117.

Brantome, M. de, description of the court of Elizabeth, 337.

Brown, Anthony, viscount Montacute, 286.

Brown, Robert, II. 108.

Bryan, lady, her letter respecting Elizabeth, 21.


Cabot, Sebastian, 444-6.

Cambridge, the queen's visit to, 368.

Cary, Henry, lord Hunsdon, 243. 387.

——, Robert, II. 315. 493.

Casimir, duke, 375. 376. II. 66.

Cavendish, Thomas, II. 307.

Cecil, Mildred, 95. 96. 127.

——, William, lord Burleigh, 96. 233. Account of, 234. Employed in the settlement of religion, 320. Takes precaution against the poisoning of the queen, 344. Draws a proclamation respecting portraits of the queen, 362. Directs her reception at Cambridge, 368 et seq. Letters of, to sir H. Norris, 417. 452 et seq. Attempt made to ruin him, 463, 4, and 5. His advice to the duke of Norfolk, 467. Created lord Burleigh, II. 4. Letter to the earl of Shrewsbury, 34. Character compared with sir N. Bacon's, II. 82. Anecdote of, 87. Discussions with Whitgift, 112 et seq. Anger of the queen against, 186. Restored to favor, 193. Warning to Essex, 405. Death and character of, 406.

Cecil, sir Thomas, II. 220.

Cecil, sir Robert, II. 221. 285. 372. Appointed secretary, 378. 401. 478.

Chaloner, sir Thomas, 287. His letter respecting the queen and lord R. Dudley, 289.

Chancellor, Richard, 445 and 6.

Charles IX. of France, a suitor to Elizabeth, 392. II. 24. 26.

Cheke, sir John, 154. 222.

Classical literature, decline of, 198.

Clifford, George, earl of Cumberland, II. 214. 259.

Cook, sir Anthony, 154.

Courtney, W., marquis of Exeter, 7. 43. 44

——, Edward, earl of Devon, 133. 137. 162. 184 and 5.

Cox, bishop, 154. 361.

Cranmer, archbishop, 5. 12. 19. 47. 55. 56.

Cromwel, Thomas, earl of Essex, 47 to 52.


Dacre, Leonard, 471. 481, 2, and 3.

Darnley, lord, 386. 416.

Davison, secretary, conduct of, respecting the queen of Scots, II. 184 et seq. 187. 188 to 192. 267 to 270.

Dee, Dr., II. 41.

Denmark, prince of, proposed in marriage to Elizabeth, 115.

Desmond, earl of, II. 123.

Devereux, Walter, earl of Essex, II. 45 to 51.

Devereux, Robert, earl of Essex, II. 51. Appointed general of horse, 226. His position at court, 237 et seq. Expedition to Portugal, 252 et seq. 254. Duel with sir Charles Blount, 256. Letters to Davison, 267 et seq. Marriage, 270. Campaign in France, 280. Trait of, 367. Connexion with Anthony and Francis Bacon, 346. Conduct respecting Lopez, 352. View of his and the Cecil parties, 372. His conduct at Cadiz, 374 et seq. Traits of, 392. His Island voyage, 395. His quarrel with the queen, 402. Conduct in Irish affairs, 427. Service in Ireland, 434 to 440. Return to England, 440. Disgrace, 446 to 454. Censure on, 454. Dangerous designs, 460. Intrigues with the king of Scots, 465. Insurrection, 465 to 471. Trial, after-conduct, and death, 471 to 478. Story respecting his ring. 497.

Discovery, voyages of, II. 310 et seq.

Dorset, marchioness dowager, 8.

Douglas, lady Margaret, 27. 28. 60. See Lenox, countess of.

Drake, sir Francis, II. 83. 166. 198. 225. 227. 252. 254. Death and character of, 362.

Drama, progress of the, II. 321.

Dudley, John, duke of Northumberland, 12. 50. 73 to 75. 109. 117. 119. 124. 129. 131.

Dudley, Ambrose, earl of Warwick, 359. 360.

Dudley, Robert, earl of Leicester, 12. 151. 184. Appointed master of the horse, and favored by Elizabeth, 240. Knight of the garter, 265. Suspected of procuring the death of his wife, 291. His rivalry with the earl of Arundel, 299. Proposed as a husband to the queen of Scots, 365. Created earl of Leicester, 373. His declarations to Melvil, 385. Means taken by the queen to humble him, 392. His conduct to the duke of Norfolk, 397. 467. Suspected of poisoning sir N. Throgmorton, II. 15. His connexion with lady Sheffield, 31. Entertains Elizabeth at Kennelworth, 43. Letter of the queen respecting him, 53. Opposes the French marriage, 56. Marries the countess of Essex, 68. Imprisoned, 69. Suspected of attempting the life of Simier, 70. Instances of his oppressive conduct, 129. 130. Book written against him, 136 et seq. Appointed commander in Holland, 150. His letter respecting sir P. Sidney, 159. Returns from Holland, 164 and 5. Advises the poisoning of the queen of Scots, 169. Consequences of his conduct in Holland, 205. 207. Appointed commander in chief, 227. Desires the office of lieutenant in England and Ireland, 229. His death and character, 233.

Dyer, sir Edward, II. 303.


Edward VI. 37. 58. 59. Letters to him from Elizabeth, 103 and 105. 126.

Eric king of Sweden offers marriage to Elizabeth, 217. 263. Expected in England, 346.

Exeter, marchioness, 9. 46. 151.


Fence, schools of, regulated, 402.

Ferrers, George, master of the king's pastimes, 122 et seq.

Fletcher, bishop, II. 388.

Fitzalan, Henry, earl of Arundel, 72. 73. 109. 110. 131. Entertains Elizabeth at Nonsuch, 279. A suitor to her, 299. In disgrace, 394.

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