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would be pleasant and useful to future generations. This work was a History of the World, a book full of research and learning of all kinds. The occupation of Raleigh was useful to himself at the time, as well as to his fellowcountrymen in after years. It not only beguiled his long solitary hours, and gave a pleasant turn to his thoughts, but it interested others in his behalf, and people in general felt pity for a man who, with such talents, and genius, and industry, was condemned to pass year after year of his life within the walls of
James himself began at last to think that it would be advantageous to employ his prisoner in an expedition, for which he was well fitted, to the gold mines of Guiana in South America. Raleigh had already made a voyage round the world, and was therefore likely to accomplish the undertaking according to the king's wishes; and the prospect of obtaining wealth was an inducement, a selfish one certainly, to set him free for a while, and permit him to go on this expedition. James did not, however, grant Raleigh a pardon; and he gave him a strict charge to make no hostile attempts upon the settlements of the Spaniards, who had possessed themselves of large territories in America; for a marriage had been planned between the Prince of Wales and the
Infanta, and therefore it was deemed necessary to continue on good terms with the king of Spain.
Raleigh accordingly commenced his voyage, and, in due time, reached the place of destination. But when there, a dispute unhappily arose, between Raleigh's party and the Spaniards, in which his own son was slain, and also the Spanish governor, who was related to Gondomar, at that time an ambassador resident in the court of London. As soon as Raleigh returned to England, he was arrested, and again committed to the Tower. Gondomar violently demanded vengeance, and James offered to deliver up the unfortunate Raleigh to the mercy of the king of Spain. This was declined; but it was determined that the former sentence pronounced against Raleigh should be carried into effect, and that he should suffer execution in London.
After sentence of death had been pronounced, Raleigh returned to his prison, and while there, awaiting the day of execution, he still continued engaged with his History. He had brought it down nearly to the time of the Christian Era, when its completion was prevented by the sad termination of the life of its illustrious author. The last lines written when he was in the immediate prospect of death, contain much beauty, and I am sure you will
read them with melancholy pleasure and interest. They are these:-"It is death alone that can suddenly make man know himself: he tells the proud and insolent that they are but abjects, and humbles them at the instant, makes them cry, complain, and repent; yea even to hate their forepast happiness. He takes the account of the rich, and proves him a beggar, a naked beggar, which hath interest in nothing but in the gravel that fills his mouth. He holds a glass before the eyes of the most beautiful, and makes them see their deformity and rottenness, and they acknowledge it. O eloquent, just, and mighty death! Whom none could advise, thou hast persuaded; what none hath dared, thou hast done; and whom all the world hath flattered, thou alone hast cast out of the world, and despised. Thou hast drawn together all the far-stretched greatness, all the pride, cruelty, and ambition of man, and covered it all over with these two narrow words,-Hic jacet.”
The day of execution arrived, and Raleigh was conducted to the scaffold. His calmness never forsook him; and when he had made all the last sad preparations with perfect composure, he asked to see the axe which was so soon to end his life. He took it in his hand, passed his fingers along the keen edge, and then, returning it to the executioner, he remarked with a
smile, "This is a sharp medicine, but it will cure all diseases." The executioner offered to bind a handkerchief around his eyes, but he refused, saying, "Think you I fear the shadow of the axe, when I fear not the axe itself?" Then laying his head on the block, he stretched out his hands as the fatal signal, and with two strokes his head was severed from his body.
The people were much displeased with the execution of this great and talented man; they justly thought, that it was a base and cruel act first to confine Raleigh for a period of fifteen years, and then to execute on him a sentence which had been pronounced so long before, for the sole purpose of satisfying and conciliating the King of Spain. We will end this sad story, with some affecting lines which Raleigh wrote on the blank leaf of his Bible the night before his death. They will show you that he was a poet as well as a fine prose writer.
Ev'n such is Time, that takes on trust
When we have wandered all our ways,
But from this earth, this grave, this dust,
And now I must tell you a little about the family of James, and his domestic history. His wife was the Princess Anne of Denmark;
they had several children, but only three lived to grow up. Henry, the eldest, was an amiable, high-spirited prince; he was much be loved by the people, and gave fair promise, by his early talents and acquirements, of one day becoming a great and a good king. But it proved otherwise. Prince Henry died before his father, and thus his younger brother, Charles, became the heir of the English throne. Charles was a mild and gentle boy, meek and timid; and he seemed far more fitted for private life than for the government of a great kingdom. The Princess Elizabeth was married to Frederick, the Count Palatine, and James had been for some time negociating, as I said before, for an alliance between his son Charles and the Infanta of Spain. There was much that was faulty in the manner in which James conducted the education of this young prince. Mild and yielding as Charles was by nature, it was especially necessary, for the formation and strengthening of his character, that he should be guided by wise and good companions, such as might give a right bias to his opinions and dispositions. But his father was not sufficiently careful on this point. The chief friend of the Prince, at this time, was the Duke of Buckingham, a man in no way calculated to improve or benefit him. But Buckingham was a great favourite with