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majesty, wisdom, learning, choler, and favour better than her highness.
Harrington had kept a journal of the campaign against the Irish rebel, which, as he said, he intended no eyes to have seen but his own and his children; but the queen insisted on seeing it in such a peremptory manner, that he dared not refuse. "I even now," writes he, so long after the matter as 1606, "almost tremble to rehearse her highness' displeasure thereat. She swore, with an awful oath, that we were all idle knaves, and the lord-deputy Essex worse for wasting our time and her commands in such wise as my journal doth write of.' I could have told her highness of such difficulties, straits and annoyances, as did not appear therein to her eyes, and I found could not be brought to her ear, for her choler did outrun all reason, though I did meet it second-hand, for what show she at first gave my lord-deputy on his return was far more grievous, as will appear in good time. I marvel to think what strange humours do conspire to patch up the natures of some minds." Essex, as usual, fell sick on these displeasures; and his doctors wished that Dr. Bruen, his own private physician, might be summoned to his assistance, but the queen would not permit him to have personal access to the earl, though she licensed a consultation between him and the other doctors.1
He had so frequently excited the queen's sympathy on former occasions, by feigning sickness, when only troubled with ill humour, that now she would not believe in the reality of his indisposition. Tilts and tourneys, and all sorts of pageants, were prepared by the adverse party to amuse the queen's mind, and to divert the attention of the people from watching the slowly but surely progressing tragedy of the fallen favourite. On her majesty's birthday Essex addressed the following pathetic letter to his wrathful sovereign :
“Vouchsafe, dread sovereign, to know there lives a man, though dead to the world, and in himself exercised with continued torments of body and mind, that doth more true honour to your thrice blessed day than all those that appear in your sight. For no soul had ever such an impression of your perfections, no alteration shewed such an effect of your power, nor no heart ever felt such a joy of your triumph. For they that feel the comfortable influence of your majesty's favour, or stand in the bright beams of your presence, rejoice partly for your majesty's, but chiefly for their own, happiness.
Anniversary of her accession to the throne.
Only miserable Essex, full of pain, full of sickness, full of sorrow, languishing in repentance for his offences past, hateful to himself that he is yet alive, and importunate on death, if your favour be irrevocable; he joys only for your majesty's great happiness and happy greatness; and were the rest of his days never so many, and sure to be as happy as they are like to be miserable, he would lose them all to have this happy seventeenth day many and many times renewed with glory to your majesty, and comfort of all your faithful subjects, of whom none is accursed but
"Your majesty's humblest vassal,
The queen was resolute in her anger, notwithstanding all submissions. The sorrowful countess of Essex sent her majesty a fair jewel; but it was rejected. On the Sunday afterwards, she came to court all in black, everything she wore being under the value of five pounds, and proceeded to lady Huntingdon's chamber to implore her to move her majesty for leave to visit her husband, whom she heard had been in extremity the night before. Lady Huntingdon did not dare to see the countess herself, but sent word to her that she would find a means of making her petition known. The answer returned was, "that she must attend her majesty's pleasure by the lords of the council, and come no more to court." It was taken ill that she had presumed to come, in her agony, at that time.
The weather had proved unfavourable for the tournament, prepared by the foes of Essex in honour of the queen's accession, but it took place on her name-day, Nov. 19th, when there were tilts and running at the ring, and the queen gave lord Mountjoye her glove. Lord Compton, on that day, came before her majesty dressed like a fisherman, with six men clad in motley, his caparisons all of net, having caught a frog a device that bore significant allusion to the luckless Essex then entangled in the meshes of his foes' subtle intrigues against him.
On the 21st, they tilted again; and on that day the French ambassador Boissise, who had received instructions from king Henry to intercede for Essex, if he saw a fitting opportunity, gives the following particulars of his interviews with queen Elizabeth, and of the state of affairs in England:
"I waited upon the queen yesterday, in the house of a gentleman near Richmond, where she was enjoying the pleasures of the chase. My visit was to receive her commands, and to communicate the intelligence I had received from your majesty. She was not sorry that I should see 2 * Sidney Papers.
her hunting equipage and her hunting dress, for in truth she does not appear with less grace in the field than in her palace, and, besides, she was in a very good humour... The privy council have gravely considered the case of the earl of Essex, and it was determined, without an opposing voice, "that he has well and faithfully served (the queen), and that even his return, although it was contrary to the orders of the queen, yet it had been done with a good intention. They have communicated their decision to the queen, but she is not satisfied with it. She holds a court every day, and says "that she will allow the present tournament in commemoration of her coronation to continue, that it may clearly appear her court can do without the earl of Essex." Many consider that she will remain a long time in this humour; and I see nobody here who is not accustomed to obey; and the actions of the queen are never mentioned but in terms of the highest respect.
"Nov. 28.-Having been informed that the queen would return to this city the day before yesterday, I went to meet her at Chelsea, where she had already arrived to dinner. The admiral had invited me as a guest, and received me with all possible courtesy. The queen also shewed, that the performance of this duty on my part was not disagreeable to her, which even last year I wished to perform, having understood that the ambassadors of your majesty residing here have frequently done so..... I remained always near the queen, and accompanied her to Westminster, where she did not arrive till night. The queen made her entrance with much magnificence; she was in a litter, richly adorned, and followed by a great number of earls, barons, gentlemen, and ladies, all well dressed, and on horseback. The officers of the crown, such as the admiral, the grand treasurer, and the chamberlain, were near her person. The earl of Derby, descended from one of the sisters of king Henry VIII., and who might, after the decease of the queen, advance pretensions to the crown, carried the sword (of state); the earl of Worcester, performing the office of grand esquier, instead of the earl of Essex, held the bridle of her hackney, and all the cavalcade was bareheaded. The mayor of the city, whose authority is very great, came to meet her with seven or eight hundred citizens, every one wearing a chain of gold round his neck.
The people were dispersed in the fields on each side of the road, and they made the air ring with their good wishes and acclamations, which the queen received with a cheerful countenance, and frequently halted to speak to them, and to thank them; so that it was pleasant to see these mutual proofs of affection between the people and the queen. She has been advised in future to remain longer in this city (than usual), that she might, by the influence of her presence, destroy the credit of those whom it is said have too much influence with the people . . . . The earl of Essex is not mentioned at court; he is still confined, and I do not perceive that his liberation is an object of much consideration."1
Essex, meantime, refused food, but drank to excess, which increased his fever of mind and body, and as if that had not been enough, he sent for eight physicians, and talked of making his will. The queen then gave him leave to take the air in the garden. It was even thought he would be removed to his own house, or that of the lordtreasurer Buckhurst, for the lord-keeper and his wife were both indisposed, and heartily sick of their charge. His sisters, the ladies Northumberland and Rich, came to court, all in black, to make humble supplication to the queen, that he might be removed to a better air as soon as he was capable of being moved, for now, indeed, his sickness was no pretence.2
"My lady Essex," says Whyte, " rises almost every day as soon as light, to go to my lord-treasurer's and sir John Fortescue (on behalf of her lord), for to this court she may not come." On the second Sunday in December, the earl received the communion, and his lady obtained leave to see him, but found him so reduced, by grief of mind and body, that when he was removed out of bed, it could only be done by lifting him in the sheets. Little hope was entertained of his recovery. After he had received the sacrament, Essex sent back to her majesty his two patents, of the horse and the ordnance, which she returned to him again. His commission of earl-marshal it was understood he should retain for life.3
On the 13th of December, the French ambassador wrote to his sovereign," that there were divisions in the council
1 Reports of the French ambassador, Boissise.
touching Essex, some urging the queen to forgive him, and others to take his life. That a warrant had been made out for his removal to the Tower, and twice brought to the queen, and twice she had refused to sign it: "It appeared to me," continues his excellency, who certainly took a very friendly part towards the unfortunate earl, "that the time was come, when I could make use of the influence of your majesty's name, which I made known to Essex. He sent to me, two days afterwards, to say, that if by my mediation he was not released, he knew no other means which could be of service, requesting me to speak to the queen as soon as possible. I sent the next day to ask for an audience, which was granted; but the earl of Essex informed me, that a change had taken place in his affairs, and desired that I would not mention his name. He had been told that the queen was inclined to grant him his liberty. At all events I was glad to be excused from speaking to her about him, not doubting but that he will hereafter have sufficient occasion for my interference; and, in fact, the day following he sent to inform me, that he expected to be sent to the Tower, and entreated me to do everything in my power to avert this stroke. I therefore went yesterday to see the queen, and after having conversed with her on various subjects, I said, that your majesty, as the most affectionate of her friends, partook in all her sorrows, and felt much regret at the dissatisfaction which she had conceived towards the earl of Essex, both for the injury which that circumstance might produce in her health and in her affairs; your majesty not wishing to interfere further than you would desire she would do on a like occasion. I entreated her to consider duly which would be the most expedient; to persist in the punishment of the earl of Essex, and lose, by so doing, one of her best servants and ministers, and prolonging a dangerous and hazardous war in Ireland; or, being satisfied with a moderate punishment, make the earl more careful and more capable, hereafter, of doing her services, and by this means put an end to the war, and save her country. I touched on the graces and favours which she had received from heaven, and how much prudence was the shield of princes, and which she had so frequently employed towards her greatest enemies. I also spoke to her of the services of the earl, which did not permit the suspicion