Page images
PDF
EPUB

ture, but to an union of families, &c.” In orher words, the drew the Earl into the fame disgraceful and imprudent conceffions which she had procured from his unlucky predeceffors; and partly by intreaties, partly by threats, induced him to sacrifice, in a great measure, the fortune, intereft, and happiness of himself and his family, to the aggrandizement of her children by Sir William Cavendith. To fum up her character with the brevity here required,

he was a woman of a masculine understanding and conduct; proud, furious, selfish, and unfeeling. She was a builder, a buyer and seller of estates, a money lender, a farmer, and a merchant of lead, coals, and timber. When disengaged from these employments, the intrigued alternately with Elizabeth and Mary, always to the prejodice and terror of her husband. She lived to a great old age, continually flattered, but seldom deceived, and died in 1607, immensely rich, and without a friend.—The Earl was withdrawn by death from these complicated plagues on the 18th of No. yember 1590.'

The nature of the business in which the Earl was imme. diately engaged, is fufficient to assure us of its difficulty, which is 'confirmed by several of the letters in this collection. Thus he expresses himfelf when writing to Lord Burghley *. - The trouthe is, my good L. if it so stande we the Quene's Matiess pleasure, I could be right well contented to be dyscharged of that charge, and thynk myselfe therwih most happy, if I could tee how the fame myght be w'out anny blemyche to my ho. nore and estymasyon ; but rather wi the increase of bothe, as I dare before God and the woreld arouce that my trouth and dutyfal care in this farves hath desarved.'- Among other complaints, one is the great expence incurred, which is mentioned foon after he had entered on his office, when writing to the Marquis of Winchester and Sir Walter Mildmay.

• + Ic may please you to underltaund, that whereas I have had a certen ordinary allowaunce of wine, amongs other noblemen, for expences in my howsehold, w'out impofte. The charg's daily that I do nowe fufteyn, and have done all this yere past, well knowen by reason of the Quene of Scots, are so grete therein as I am compelled 10 be now a surer unto yow that ye woll please to have a friendlie consideration unto the necesline of my large expenses. Truly two connes in a monthe have not bitheruolo fufficed ordinarily, belids that is occupied at tymes for her bathings, and such like ufes, which feing I cannot by any means conveniedly diminishe, myn erneft trust and desire is that ye woll now consider me the such larger proporcun in this case as shall seem good unto your frendly wisdomes, even as I Mall think my self moche beholdinge for the same. And so I comit you unto God. From Turbury Castle, this xveb of January 1569. Yo' assured frend to my pow", G. SHREWSBURY.'

* V. 2. No. 95. p. 113.

2

t No. 45. p. 27.

Without

[ocr errors]

Without taking notice of what is here faid of wine, for the Queen's bathings, which no doubt will appear odd to many of our readers, we proceed to insert the editor's remark on the ufe of that article, in a note connected with the above letter :

• This paffage will serve to correct a vulgar error relating to the confumprion of wine in thofe days, which instead of being lefs, ap.' pears to have been, at leaf in the houses of the great, even more confiderable than that of the present time. The good people who tell us that Queen Elizabeth's maids of honour breakfalled on road beef, generally add, that wine was then used in England as a medicine, for that it was sold only by apothecaries. The latter affer. tion, though founded on a fact, seems to have led to a mistake in the former; for the word Apothecary, from the Greek Aronxn, Repofitorium, is applicable to any shopkeeper, or warehou feman, and was probably once used in that general sense. It seems however to have been confounded, by a modern corruption, with the very app term, Poticary, or Poticar, now only in use among the common people ; which being no doubt derived from floréxw, adbibeo, migho very properly signify the person who applied, or administered the mea. dicines ordered by the physician.'

In another letter to Lord Burghley, the Earl writes as fol., lows:

* Affuredly the very charge of my whole householde, then the entertainement I do geeve to my householde fervaunts, is not def. fraied with the allowance I have from her Mate ; besides the which I dare be bold to saye the wyne, spice, and the fuell, that is fpent in my house yerelie, being vallued, commeth not under one thog. fande poundes by the yeare : Also the losse of plate, the byenge of pewter, and all manner of howleholde ftuffe, wed by them is ex. ceedinglye Spoyled, and wylfully wasted, ftandech me in one thou. fande poundes by the yeare: Moreover, the annuitees I have geeven to my fervantes to th’ende to be more faichefully served by them, and to pvent any corruption that by want they might be provoked unto, comech to above cccc' by the yere. I do lcave out ao iofinite numbre of other hidden charges wcb I am dryven unto by keping this woman, for trobelinge you over longe ; but I do trust that her Malle, of her owne conlideration, wyll so well thyncke of these thinges that she wyll not abridge any thinge of that wyche lhe hathe bitherto allowed. I have, in these xi yeres service in this charge, not pesteren her Mario web any fuites, neither have I lamented the heavy burthen my mynde hathe borne in providing for her faffetye, and that my boddy hathe fuftayned (being thereby weakened) only for that I do recken myselfc happy and fortunata in lyvinge to do her Malle crewe and loiall service.

It is probable, that no considerable new light will be thrown by these letters on this memorable transaction of Queen Elizabeth's reign, though they afford several minute

• V. 2. No. 151. p. 259.

B 4

particulars particulars as to the manner in which it was conducted. They do not represent our great English Queen to the advantage which we could wish; and the editor does not wholly neglect to point out instances of treachery and tyranny. Yet although it has been fashionable of late years to decry, this princess, and we cannot avoid uniling in the censure on several occalions, we are inclined to think, that sufficient allowance is not always made for the difficulties of her situation, for the prejudices, ignorance, absurdity, fuperftition, &c. which, notwithstanding the progress that reformation had made, pervaded almost every mind of that period; and which-lad to say-seem to be rapidly gaining ground on us, under all the advantages of these more, enlightened days.

Among other letters, those of the Earl of Sussex, some of them addressed immediately to the Queen, are well worthy of . notice : they carry with them strong marks of ability, fidelity and real worth. The editor's account of this nobleman is as foliows:

• Thomas Ratcliffe, Earl of Suffex, eldest son of Henry, the re. cond Earl, by Elizabeth, one of the daughters of Thomas Howard, second Duke of Norfolk. This great man's conduct united all the splendid qualities of those eminent persons who jointly rendered Elizabeth's court an object of admiration to Europe, and was perfectly free from their faults : wise and loyal as Burghley, without his blind attachment to the monarch ; vigilant as Walfingham, but disdaining his low cunning; magnificent as Leicester, but incapable of hypocrisy; and brave as Raleigh, with the piety of a primitive Christian ; he seemed above the common obje&ts of human ambi. tion, and wanted, if the expreflion may be allowed, those dark shades of character which make men the heroes of history. Hence it is, probably, that our writers have bestowed so little attention on this admirable person, who, is but slightly mentioned in most historical collections, unless with regard to his disputes with Leiceller, whom he hated almost to a fault. His letters, which I esteem myself molt fortunate in being the instrument of disclosing, form a very valuable part of this collection, and, except a very few, are the only ones to be met with in print. I trust they will acquit me of extravagance in the flight view I have given of his character.'

The Earl of Sussex was employed in affairs of great moment: the two distinguishing objects of this kind were the treaties of marriage, with the Archduke Charles of Austria, brother of Maximilian II, the reigning Emperor; and with the Duke of Alençon, third brother of Charles IX. of France: in each of these he was a prime negotiator. His letters on these and other subjects are curious, interesting, and worthy of perusal : but as our confined limits do not allow of many extracts, we must refer the reader to the volumes themselves,

Notwithstanding

Notwithstanding his apparent ability and integrity, he, as well as others, met with some considerable neglect and ill usage: as a specimen of his honeft sense of this circumstance, and of his {pirit to discover it, we insert the following passage, from a letter to Sir William Cecil, dated Januarie 1569:

• I was first a lieuten te, I was after little better than a marshal ; I had then nothing left to me but to direct hanging matters (in the mean tyme all was disposed that was wohin my comiffion) and nowe I ame offered to be made a sereif's bayły to deliver over posses. fions. Blame me not, good Mr. Secretarie, though my pen utter fumwhat of that swell in my stomake, for I see I ame kepte but for a brome, and when I have done my office to be throwen out of the dore. I am the first nobel man hache been thus used. Trewe ser vice deserveth honor and credite, and not reproche and open de faming: but seeing the one is ever delivered to me inftede of the other, I must leave to serve, or lose my honor; uch being continewed so long in my howse, I wolde be loche shooide take blemishe wth me.

These matters I knowe procede not from lacke of good and honorable meaning in the Q: Matic towards me, nor from lacke of dewte and trewch in me towards her, wch greveshe me the more; and therefore seeing. I shall be fill a camelyon, and yelde no other thewe then as it shall please others to give the couller, I will content myself to live a private lyfe. God fend her Macie others that meane as well as I have done ; and so I comict you to th’Almightie.' If any

of our readers Tould have been at all offended with what appears, in the present day, the uncouth style of these ancient letters, they may probably bave been equally pleased, as we have been, with the correct and easy language of the editor of thele volumes : as a farther specimen of which, we here add a few lines :

· Gilbert, the seventh Earl (of Shrewsbury) came into public life when the English nation was rapidly emerging from that simplicity of mariners to which it had so long been confined by bigotry and war. We shall accordingly observe in his character certain amiable features, and certain faults, which were equally unknown to his ancestors. We shall find him the accomplished courrier, and welleducated gentleman, occasionally relapsing into the pomp and the ferocity of an ancient baron. The story of his public life lies within a narrow compass, for he was never called to any high office of the ftate, though apparently better qualified than any of his predecessors of whom we have been treating, His case in this respect was peculiarly hard; for though it should seem that Elizabeth pasied him over on some suspicion of his disaffection to her, yet in the Bext reign he appears to have been thrust aside as one of the old followers of her court. He was summoned to parliament a few months before his father's death; was installed a knight of the Garter on the 20th of June 1592; in 1596 went ambassador to France to ratify the treaty of alliance with Henry the Great; and

was

was appointed by James, at his acceffion, Chief Justice of the fo. rets North of Trent.'

We can take very little notice of the letters to and from this nobleman, with those of many others which constitute the third volume of this work. We observe, in a letter from the Earl of Worcester to the Earl of Shrewsbury, an account of the ladies who attended on the Queen of James the First, which is rather amusing, and serves to thew what disquietude and misery accompany the service of courts *:

• Now, (says the Earl.) having doone with matters of fate, I muft a littell towche the feminine comon welche, that agaynst youer coming youe bee not altogether like an ignorant countrey fellow. First, youe moft knowe we have ladyes of divers degrees of favor ; Some for the privat chamber, fome for the drawing chamber, some for the bedchamber, and some for neyther certeyn, and of this nombre is only my La. Arbella and my wife. My Lady of Bed.. ford howldetbe fast to the bedchamber; my Lady Harford would fayn, but her husband hath cawled her home. My Lady of Derbee the yonger, the Lady Suffoke, Ritche, Nottingham, Suran, Walfingham, and of late the Lady Sothwell, for the drawing chamber ; all the rest for the private chamber, when they are not that owl, for many times the dores are lokt; but the plotting and mallice amongst them is furche, that I think envy hathe teyd an invisible snake abowt most of ther neks to sting on another to deaythe. For the presence there are nowe 5 mayds, Cary, Mydellmore, Woodhouse, Gargrave, Roper, the fiext is determined but not come. God send them good fortune, for as yet they have no mother.'

The editor's note on the last sentence informs us, that the office of Mother of the maids of honour existed in the Queen's houfhold till towards the end of the last century, when the benign influence of the Revolution liberated them from the tyranny of their gouvernante, and settled this fair society on republican principles.'

Beside nine plates of autographs, several other engravings enrich these volumes: the first of them is introduced by a print of John Talbot, the great ancestor of all the Earls of Shrewsbury, taken from a very ancient portrait preserved in the College of Arms. The frontispiece to the second volume is the head of George, the fixth Earl, which, in our opinion, has a far more antique appearance than the former. The third volume opens with a beautiful engraving of Arabella Stuart, from the collection of the Honourable Horace Walpole, now Earl of Orford. The editor's note concerning this lady is as follows:

A very accomplished person, whose name is scarcely mentioned in history, except with regard to Raleigh's ridiculous conspiracy,

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »