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that the fault which he had committed could proceed from any evil design; and at length I told her, 'that your majesty advised her to do as you had done,—that is to say, to forgive freely, and to assure by this means the goodwill and fidelity of her subjects; and if, besides these considerations, she would have any regard to the recommendation which your majesty offered in favour of the earl, you would consider it as a signal favour, and that you would acknowledge it by any other pleasure or office which she would desire. She heard me patiently, and then said, but not without emotion, that she entreated your majesty not to judge of the fact, without being well informed, that the earl had so ill conducted himself in his charge, despising the orders and regulations which he had received from her, that Ireland was in great danger,—that he had conferred with the chief of the rebels, without preserving the honour or the dignity of the crown, and that he had, at last, returned to England, against her express commands, and had abandoned the army and the country to the mercy of her enemies, which were acts that deserved punishment, which she had not yet inflicted, for the earl was well lodged in the house of one of his friends, where he had a good chamber, and a gallery to walk in.' She said, “she would consider hereafter what she ought to do, but she begged your majesty to retain your good opinion of her.'”
The narrative of this remarkable conference, between queen Elizabeth and Boissise,' while it proves that Henry IV. felt a personal friendship for the unfortunate earl, and was desirous of saving him, shews also that Elizabeth had greatly softened in her resentment against Essex, and that she only intended to humble him. She desired that his eight doctors might hold a consultation on the state of his health, and send her their opinion. Their statement of his maladies was so serious, that her majesty became very pensive, and sent Dr. James, her own physician, to him, with some broth, and a message, bidding him “comfort himself, and that, if it were not inconsistent with her honour, she would have come to visit him herself.” It was noted that her eyes were full of tears, when she uttered these gracious words. The earl appeared to take comfort from the mes
· Extracted by sir C. Sharp from inedited ambassadors' reports in the Bibliothêque du Roi, Paris.
sage, but it was feared it came too late, as he appeared almost past hope.
The queen commanded that he should be removed, from the room in which he then lay, to the lord-keeper's own chamber, and she permitted his sorrowful lady to come to him every morning, and remain till night. On the 19th of December, there was so general a report of his death that the bells tolled for him. On the Sunday following, he was prayed for in all the churches in London. Very severe things were written upon the white walls at court, against sir Robert Cecil's conduct on this occasion. Another change in the queen's mind appeared at this time, and she discontinued her inquiries after the health of the unfortunate earl; having been oft deceived by him before, as to pretences of sickness, she was now persuaded this was a feint. The ministers were commanded to discontinue their public prayers at church in his behalf. Too much of positics had, indeed, been mixed up in these supplications, according to the custom of those times, when the pulpit was made the ready vehicle of party agitation.
The queen was, besides, deeply exasperated at the publication of Hayward's “ History of Henry IV. of England,” which appeared just at this unluckly juncture, written in Latin, and dedicated to the earl of Essex. Some passages, touching the misgovernment of Richard II., and the pernicious influence of his unworthy favourites, which led to the fall of that prince, and the elevation of his popular kinsman to the throne, she chose to construe into reflections on herself and her cabinet. It is impossible to imagine, how this mighty sovereign could fancy, that any analogy could be supposed to exist, between her conduct and that of so imbecile a monarch as Richard, but so it was; and, in her first storm of anger, she ordered Hayward to be committed to prison, and, sending for Francis Bacon, she asked him, “ whether he could not find something in the book that might be construed into treason ?” “No treason,” replied Bacon, “but many felonies.” “How?" said the queen. “ Yes, madam,” rejoined Bacon, “ many apparent thefts from Cornelius Tacitus." ? This playful subterfuge did not satisfy Elizabeth. Hayward had formerly written
in her praise, and she suspected that he had now merely lent his name to cover the mischievous 1 Birch.
* Bacou's. Apology.
opinions of some other person, and signified her desire that he should be put to the rack, in order to make him confess whether he were the author or not. “Nay, madam,” replied the calm philosopher, “he is a doctor; never rack his person, but rack his style. Let him have pen, ink, and paper, and the help of books, and be enjoined to continue the story where it breaketh off, and I will undertake, by collating the styles, to judge whether he were the author or no.
Lord Hunsdon, in one of his letters, written during the heyday of Leicester's favour, many years before this period, sarcastically observes, in allusion to his own want of interest at court, “I never was one of Richard II.'s men.” Some political publication had therefore previously appeared, comparing the system of favouritism in Elizabeth's reign with that of Richard, which had rendered her sensitive on the subject. A remarkable proof of her soreness on that point is observable in the course of her conversation with that learned, antiquarian lawyer, Lambarde, when he waited upon her, in her privychamber, at Greenwich palace, to present his “ Pandecta of the Tower Records." Her majesty graciously received the volume, with her own hand, saying, “You intended to present this book to me by the countess of Warwick, but I will none of that, for if any subject of mine do me a service, I will thankfully accept it from his own hands.” Then, opening the book, she said, “You shall see that I can read," and so, with an audible voice, read over the epistle and the title, so readily, and so distinctly pointed, that it might perfectly appear that she well understood and conceived the same. Then she descended from the beginning of king John to the end of Richard III., sixty-six pages, containing a period of 286 years. In the first page, she demanded the meaning of oblata carte, litteræ clause, and littera patentes. Lambarde explained the meaning of these words, and her majesty said she would be a scholar in her age, and thought it no scorn to learn during her life, being of the mind of that philosopher, who, in his last years, begun with the Greek alphabet." Then she proceeded to further pages, and asked “what were ordinationes parliamenta, rotulus cambü, and rediseisnes?". Lambarde having explained these documentary terms, to her majesty's Bacon's Apology.
August 4th, 1601. Nichols.
full satisfaction, she touched on the reign of Richard II., saying, “I am Richard II. Know ye not that ?" 1
Such a wicked imagination,” replied Lambarde, “was determined and attempted by a most unkind gentlemanthe most adorned creature that ever your majesty made.”
“He that will forget God,” rejoined her majesty, “will also forget his benefactors." Here is a decided allusion to Essex, on the part of both Lambarde and the queen, but some mystery, as yet unexplained, is glanced at by her majesty in the remark, with which she concludes, " This tragedy” (quere ?) “was played forty times in open streets and houses.” It could not be Shakespeare's tragedy of Richard II.,which is far too loyal in its sentiments to have displeased the queen, and of which, she might in the poet's own words have said, “What's Hecuba to me? or, I to Hecuba ?”
It is more probable, that some dramatic pasquinade of the Punchinello class, satirizing the queen and her ministers, had been got up for the edification of street audiences, and to excite their passions, bearing on the practices of Cecil and Raleigh against Essex, who was the idol of the people.
The queen continued to turn over the leaves of Lambarde's Pandecta," and asked, “What was præstita ?" Lambarde told her, “it meant monies lent by her progenitors to their subjects, but with good bond for repayment." “So," observed her majesty,“ did my good grandfather Henry VII., sparing to dissipate his treasure or his lands.” Then, returning to Richard II., she asked, “ whether Lambarde had seen any true picture or lively representation of his countenance or person ?” « None,” he replied, “but such as be in common hands." Then, her majesty said, “The lord Lumley, a lover of antiquities, discovered it (the original portrait of Richard) fastened on the back-side of a baseroom, which he presented to me, praying with my good leave, that I might put it in order with his ancestors and successors: I will command, Thomas Knevet, keeper of my house and gallery at Westminster, to shew it unto thee." Then, she turned to the rolls, entitled, Rome, Vascon, Aquitaniæ, Franciæ, Scotiæ, Walliæ, et Hiberniæ.
Lambarde expounded these to be, “ records of estate and negotiations with foreign princes or countries.” The queen inquired “if rediseisnes were unlawful, and forcible throwing
Nichols, from the original paper written by Lambarde.
men out of their lawful possessions ?" “ Yea,” replied the learned lawyer, "and therefore these be the rolls of fines assessed and levied upon such wrong-doers, as well for their great and wilful contempt of the crown and royal dignity, as disturbance of common justice.
“In those days,” observed Elizabeth, "force and arms did prevail, but now the wit of the fox is everywhere on foot, so as hardly one faithful or virtuous may be found.” Then, having finished looking through the volume, in which, like the great and popular sovereign that she was, she had manifested an interest, at once worthy of the representative of the ancient monarchs of the land she ruled, and gratifying to the learned author, who had employed so much time and patient research for her instruction. commended the work," observes Lambarde, “not only for the pains therein taken, but also for that she had not received, since her first coming to the crown, any one thing that brought therewith so great a delectation to her;' and, so being called away to prayer, she put the book in her bosom, having forbidden me from the first, to fall on my knee before her, concluding, "Farewell, good and honest Lambarde !""
The delighted old man only survived this conversation a few days; but the royal graciousness had shed a bright and cheering warmth round his heart, which must have given fervour to his dying orisons in her behalf.'
Very different was the conduct of the great Elizabeth in her occasional intercourse with the literary characters of her day, from that of Marie Antoinette, the unfortunate consort of Louis XVI., who had the ill-taste, and surely it may be added, the ill-luck to disgust persons, who, by the magic of a few strokes of the pen, occasionally conjure up storms, which put down the mighty from their seat, and change the fate of empires. Madame de Campan attributed much of the unpopularity of that unhappy queen, to her neglect of the great writers of the age.
When Marmontel was introduced to her, together with the composer, who had arranged the music of one of the popular operas, written by that author, her
1 He founded a college at East Greenwich, where twenty poor people were clothed and fed, being the first protestant subject by whom an hospital was endowed.