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tional right to the throne. It was probably the consciousness of this defect in his parliamentary title which induced James to magnify his hereditary right, as something indefeasible by the legislature, and to set up those notions of legitimate sovereignty and absolute right, which, being interwoven with religion, became the distinguishing tenets of the party which encouraged the Stuarts to subvert the liberties of England. Yet James was not an usurper, for he had that title, which the flatterers of his family most affected to disdain-the will of the people, and after his accession, it was the first measure of parliament, to declare him "lineally, justly, and lawfully, next and sole heir to the blood royal of this realm."
2. James's early unpopularity. The King of Scots lost not a moment to take possession of his new inheritance. Visions of wealth, power, and enjoyment, floated before his imagi- James's nation; he spoke of England, to his followers, as the eagerness land of promise; and priding himself on his kingcraft London. he eagerly betrayed the high notions he had formed of the royal dignity. For a brief time, all his expectations were confirmed by the cheers of the multitudes who assembled to greet him during his progress to London, and by the sumptuous entertainments which he received in the houses of the nobility. It was on the 6th of April that he set out from Edinburgh for Berwick. On the 13th, he was at Newcastle, on the 15th, he reached Topcliffe, whence he proceeded through York, Newark, and Belvoir Castle, to Theobalds, in Hertfordshire, the residence of Cecil, which he reached on the 3rd of May. But he had already lost his popularity. His gait was ungraceful, His and his countenance repulsive; his tongue was too large appearance. for his mouth; his legs were too weak for his body; his eyes rolled vacantly around; his apparel was negligent and dirty; his whole bearing, slovenly and ungainly. To protect himself from assassination, he wore a doublet, so thickly wadded, and so tightly fitted to his body, "that he looked like an enormous pig, ready trussed for roasting, and he could not move his limbs more than if he had been in the stocks." His unwillingness to be seen by the people; the haste with which he condemned a thief to death, at Newark, without trial or defence; the partiality which he showed to Scotchmen on all occasions; the barbarous brogue in which he spoke, and his excessive drunkenness, all tended to excite in his subjects the greatest disgust and ridicule. The
* Hallam's Const. Hist., I., 294; Bolingbroke's Dissertation on Parties, Letter II. + White's Landmarks.
marked antipathy which he showed to his predecessor, excited the most painful emotions. When the French ambassador ordered his suite to dress in mourning for Elizabeth, James considered it an insult, and compelled the ambassador to revoke the order; the council, thefore, spared him the mortification of attending the great Queen's funeral, by causing her to be buried before he reached the capital. As was the custom upon the accession of a new sovereign, James conferred titles and honours upon his chief supporters; but so lavishly, that a pasquinade was fixed on the door of St. Paul's, offering to teach weak memories the art of remembering the titles of the new nobility. Cecil was made Earl of Salisbury; and the Earls of Essex and Southampton recovered their titles and estates.
3. The "Bye," and "The Main." There arose out of the intrigues which the ministers of France and Spain encouraged at this time, two conspiracies, so dark and unintelligible, that the best accounts of them are obscure and confused. The most important of them was that termed "The Bye;" but which was also called the "Treason of the Priests," from Watson and Clarke, two Catholic priests, who were its chief promoters; and the "Surprising Treason," or "The Surprise," from the design of seizing the King's person, which formed the immediate object of the plot. The chief persons who engaged in it were, Sir Griffin Markham and George Brooke, both Catholics, the latter the brother of Lord Cobham, and the brother-in-law of Cecil. But the most mischievous parties were the two priests. Watson was induced to enter the plot by the King's apparent determination not to grant toleration to the Catholics. Brooke's motive is unknown; probably, he was Cecil's spy.* Another of the conspirators was Lord Grey of Wilton, the leader of the Puritan party; but there was no connection between his plan and that of the priests. His plan was, to compel the King to grant the demands of the Puritans, by presenting to him a petition at the head of a body of armed men, on the night of the 24th of June, at Hanworth, between Greenwich and Windsor, where James was accustomed to stay for refreshment on his hunting excursions. The plan of the priests was, to take advantage of this project, and liberate the sovereign from the hands of the Puritans, and then solicit from him liberty of conscience, in return for their services. This plan, however, was unknown to Grey, but when the appointed day came, his suspicions having been already aroused, he proposed to defer the enterprise. At this moment, Cecil's vigilance
*Tytler's Life of Raleigh.
was awakened, and Copley, one of the Catholic conspirators, being arrested, discovered the whole plot. Such was the "Bye," with which the attorney-general afterwards acknowledged in court, that Sir Walter Raleigh had no connection.
The plot which he was accused of contriving and instigating, and which was coincident with the Bye, was called "The The Main. Main," or "The Spanish Treason," and his alleged companions were Cobham and Brooke. He and Cobham had long been political associates. They had both taken part against the Earl of Essex, and were therefore obnoxious to James. Cobham was jealous of Cecil, while Raleigh had been deprived of his valuable patent for the monopoly of licensing taverns and retailing wines, and of his post of captain of the guard. When the conspirators in the Bye were arrested, Raleigh was examined by the council touching Cobham's private dealings with the Count d'Aremberg, the Austrian ambassador. His answers were satisfactory, and he was dismissed. But this did not lull his misgivings, and he forthwith wrote a letter to Cecil, saying that he suspected Cobham, and advising the apprehension and examination of La Rensie, Aremberg's agent. A few days later, both Cobham and La Rensie were committed to the Tower, and Raleigh's fears being revived, he wrote a letter, it is said, to Cobham, detailing his examination before the council, stating that he had refused to betray him, and as it would require two witnesses to convict them of treason, begged that Cobham would be as faithful as he had been. But Raleigh, on his trial, denied having written such a letter, and the statement rested on the evidence of an old soldier and servant of his, named Kemys, who had been threatened with the rack to make him confess. Cobham, however, being shown Raleigh's letter to Cecil, at once accused Sir Walter of intriguing with Aremberg and the Spanish court, on which Raleigh was immediately arrested and sent to the Tower. A few days afterwards, he made an attempt to destroy himself, and thus afforded a presumption that he was conscious that something could be proved against him.†
4. Raleigh's trial and condemnation.
In the midst of these dark transactions, the King was crowned (July 25th), the plague broke out in London, and for several months no proceedings were instituted against the conspirators. But the chief cause which delayed the trials, was the presence of Aremberg, the ambassador. However, in November he left England, and the conspirators were immediately arraigned, Raleigh and the commoners impliJardine's Criminal Trials, I., 412. + Hallam's Const. Hist., I., 353. Note..
cated being tried in Winchester Castle, where the court was then residing. The conspirators in the Bye were all condemned upon their own confessions. The conviction of Raleigh offered a more serious difficulty; the only evidence of his guilt being the contradictory confessions of Cobham, and certain intercepted letters between Aremberg and the Austrian court, which could not with decency be produced.
The main points of the indictment were, that Raleigh had proposed that Cobham should go to Spain and Austria, to obtain means for placing Arabella Stuart on the throne, under these conditions:-Peace with Spain, toleration of popery, and the Lady Arabella's marriage being approved of by the Spanish King; that Cobham should return by Jersey, and consult with Raleigh, who was the governor of that island, what was to be done further; that George Brooke was then admitted into the conspiracy; that Raleigh gave Cobham a book written against the King's title, and that Aremberg being written to, promised the conspirators 600,000 crowns. Aware of the absurdity of these charges, and of the general weakness of his case, the attorney-general, Sir Edward Coke, had recourse to the grossest and most abusive language, to which Raleigh replied with a moderation and gentlemanly bearing which placed in a stronger light the attorney-general's brutality. He demanded that Cobham should be confronted with him; he appealed to the law which required two witnesses; and he offered to abandon his defence, if Cobham would even dare to accuse him to his face. This bold challenge he was able to make with confidence, for he produced a letter from Cobham, written a fortnight before, entirely exculpating him of any treason whatever. But Coke hereupon produced another letter from Cobham, written only the day before, declaring that Raleigh had promised to furnish intelligence to Spain for a yearly pension. The reading of this letter dismayed the prisoner, who, as soon as he had recovered himself, admitted that there had been some talk of such a pension, but nothing further. This admission made a most unfavourable impression upon the jury, who reluctantly returned a verdict of guilty. Hitherto Raleigh had been an unpopular man, because of his proud and overbearing disposition; but his trial produced a complete change. The eloquent defence which he made won the admiration of his bitterest opponents; and, with the exception of Cecil and the court faction, who dreaded his wonderful wit and abilities, there was hardly a man in the realm but would have petitioned for his pardon. The Lady Arabella Stuart was present at this trial, and was declared innocent of any participation in the conspiracy. Brooke and the two priests were condemned and executed; Cobham, Grey, and Markham were brought to the scaffold, where, after " a theatrical