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burgh: if of that sickness she should die, I would be the first man, that should bring him news of it.'
The Queen grew worse and worse, because she would be so, none about her being able to persuade
her 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 got her to bed. There was no hope of her recovery, because she refused all remedies.
'On Wednesday, the twenty-third 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 the 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 her beholders. Then the good man told her plainly, 'what she was, and what she was to come to; and though she had been long a great Queen here upon earth, yet shortly she was to yield an account of her stewardship to the King of kings.' After this, he began to pray, and all that were by did answer him. After he had continued long in + Whitgift,
* Charles Howard, Earl of Nottingham.
prayer, until 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 Scroope 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 woman that attended her.
This that I heard with my ears, and did see with my eyes, I thought it my duty to set down, and to affirm it for a truth, upon the faith of a Christian; because I know, there have been many false lies reported of the end and death of that good lady.
'I went to my lodging, and left word with one in the Cofferer's chamber to call me, if that night it was thought she would die, and gave the porter an order to let me in at any time when I called. Between one and two o'clock on Thursday morning, he that I left in the Cofferer's chamber brought me word 'the Queen was dead.'* I rose, and made all the haste to the gate to get in. There I was answered, I could not enter; the Lords of the Council having been with him, and commanded him that none should go in or out, but by warrant from them.' At the
*She died soon after the Primate left her, about three o'clock in the morning.
very instant, one of the council (the Comptroller) asked, whether I was at the gate?' I said, "Yes.” He said to me, if I pleased, he would let me in.' I desired to know, how the Queen did.' He answered, “Pretty well." I bade him 'good night.' He replied, and said, "Sir, if you will come in, I will give you my word and credit, you shall go out again at your own pleasure." Upon his word I entered the gate, and came up to the Cofferer's chamber, where I found all the ladies weeping bitterly. He led me from thence to the privy chamber, where all the council was assembled; there I was caught hold of, and assured I should not go for Scotland, till their pleasures were farther known.' I told them, 'I came of purpose to that end.' From thence they all went to the Secretary's chamber, and as they went they gave a special command to the porters, that none should go out of the gates, but such servants as they should send to prepare their coaches and horses for London.' There was I left in the midst of the court to think my own thoughts, till they had done coun-cil. I went to my brother's chamber, who was in bed, having being overwatched many nights before. I got him up with all speed, and when the council's men were going out of the gate, my brother thrust to the gate. The porter, knowing him to be a great officer, let him out. I pressed after him, and was staid by the porter. My brother said angrily to the porter, "Let him out, I will answer for him." Whereupon I was suffered to pass, which I was not a little glad of.
* George Lord Hunsdon, Captain of the Band of Pension
ers, K. G. &c.
I got to horse, and rode to the Knight Marshal's lodging by Charing Cross, and there staid till the Lords came to Whitehall Garden. I staid there till it was nine o'clock in the morning; and hearing that all the Lords were in the old orchard at Whitehall, I sent the Marshal to tell them, that I would attend them, if they would command me any service.' They were very glad, when they heard I was not gone, and desired the Marshal to send for me, and I should with all speed be despatched for Scotland." The Marshal believed them, and sent Sir Arthur Savage for me. I made haste to them. One of the council (my Lord of Banbury, that now is) whispered the Marshal in the ears, and told him, if I came they would stay me, and send another in my stead.' The Marshal got from them, and met me coming to them between the two gates. He bade me begone, for he had learned for certain, that if I came to them, they would betray me.'
'I returned, and took horse between nine and ten o'clock, and that night rode to Doncaster. The Friday night I came to my own house at Witherington, and presently took order with my deputies to see the borders kept in quiet, which they had much to do: and gave order the next morning, 'the King of Scotland should be proclaimed King of England, and at Morpeth and Alnwick.' Very early on Saturday I took horse for Edinburgh, and came to Norham about twelve at noon, so that I might well have been with the King at supper-time: but I got a great fall by the way, and my horse with one of his heels gave me a great blow on the head, that made me shed much blood. It made me so weak, that I was forced to ride a soft pace after, so that
the King was newly gone to bed by the time that I knocked at the gate. I was quickly let in, and carried up to the King's chamber. I kneeled by him, and saluted him by his title of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland.' He gave me his hand to kiss, and bade me welcome.* After we had long discoursed of the manner of the Queen's sickness, and of her death, he asked what letters I had from the council?' I told him 'none;' and acquainted him, 'how narrowly I escaped from them: and yet I had brought him a blue ring from a fair lady, that I hoped would give him assurance of the truth that I had reported.' He took it, and looked upon it, and said, "It is enough: I know by this, you are a true messenger." Then he committed me to the charge of Lord Hume, and gave straight command, that I should want nothing.' He sent for his surgeons, to attend me, and when I kissed his hand at my departure, he said to me these gracious words: "I know you have lost a near kinswoman, and a loving mistress: but take here my hand; I will be as good a master to you, and will requite this service to you with honour and reward."
The new Sovereign held his first court, and settled his council, at the country-seat of Sir Robert Cecil (Theobalds, in Hertfordshire) on the third of May, 1603; and a few days afterward, created him a peer of the realm, by the title of Baron of Essenden in Rutlandshire. The following year he was raised to the dignity of Viscount Cranbourne, of Cranbourne,
* For an account of this interview, see Osborne's Traditional Memorials of James I.'