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them to go to the Queen to inform her where they were; but the answer was, “ My Lord has commanded that ye depart not before his return, which will be very shortly.”
They were at last released by the intervention of Sir Ferdinando Gorges. He had accompanied the assailants into the city, but there being no assemblage of citizens at Paul's Cross as had been promised, -the Sheriff, on whose aid much reliance was placed, having refused to join them,-Lord Burghley and the Lord Admiral having arrived with a considerable force from Westminster,—and a herald having proclaimed the leader of the insurrection a traitor, -he saw that the enterprise was desperate, and he thought only of his own safety. With this view he asked authority from Essex to go and release the Lord Keeper and the other prisoners, repre. senting that for their liberty they would undertake to procure the Queen's pardon for all that had happened. Essex consented to the release of Chief Justice Popham upon his entering into such an undertaking, but positively required that the others should be detained as hostages. Gorges hastening to Essex House reached it about four in the afternoon. Being admitted to the presence of the prisoners, he offered Popham his liberty on condition of his intercession and good offices, but the Chief Justice magnanimously refused the offer unless the Lord Keeper should be permitted to accompany him.* After some consultation Gorges concluded that the best plan for himself would be that he should forthwith release all the four, and, accompanying them to the Court, leave Essex to his fate. Accordingly, pretending that he had authority to that effect, he conducted them by a back staircase into the garden on the bank of the river Thames. Here they found a boat which they immediately entered, and by a favourable tide they were quickly conducted to the Queen's palace at Whitehall. They had hardly got clear from their imprisonment when Essex hinself arrived at the spot where they embarked, having returned by water from Queen Hithe, after all his friends in the city had deserted him. His rage was excessive when he found that his prisioners had escaped; and now despairing of success or mercy, he resorted to the vain attempt of fortifying his house, and resisting the ordnance brought from the Tower to batter it down.
The Lord Keeper remained at Whitehall with the Queen till news was brought of the surrender of Essex, and then he sorrowfully took leave of her. She had behaved with the greatest composure and courage while danger existed, but she could not without emotion give directions for bringing to trial for high treason the unhappy young nobleman, who, notwithstanding all his faults, had still such a strong hold of her affections.
* Some accounts are silent as to the magnanimity of Popham; but Camden's contemporary testimony can leave no doubt upon the subjeet : “Comes annuit ut solus Pophamus Justitiarius liberetur, qui cum liberari nollet si Castos Sigilli una liberatur, Georgius liberavit singulos, et cum illis per flumen contulit.”—Camd. Eliz. vol. ii. p. 225.
The trial speedily took place in the Court of the Lord High Steward in Westminster Hall. The Lord Keeper, not a being a peer, was spared the pain of joining in the sen- !**
[Feb. 19] tence of condemnation, but he was summoned as a witness. Trials for treason were at this era in a sort of transition state. The gieat bulk of the evidence against the Earl of Essex and the Earl of Southampton, who was tried along with him, consisted of written examinations, and among them was “the declaration of the Lord Keeper, the Earl of Worcester, and the Lord Chief Justice of England,” containing a narrative of their imprisonment, and signed by the three. They were likewise called as witnesses, and “proved in Court upon their honours*, that they heard the words
Kill them, kill them ; ' but they would not charge my Lord of Essex, that they were spoken either by his privity or command.”+ They were much more forbearing than the counsel for the Crown, Coke and Bacon, who, to the disgrace of both, showed very unnecessary zeal in procuring a conviction,-for the Judges declared, according to what has ever since been held for law,“ that in case where a subject attempteth to put himself into such strength as the King shall not be able to resist him, and to force the King to govern otherwise than according to his own royal authority and discretion, it is manifest rebellion, and in every rebellion the law intendeth as a consequent the compassing the death of the King, as foreseeing that the rebel will never suffer the King to live or reign who might punish or take revenge of his treason and rebellion.” The prisoners did not deny that they intended forcibly to seize the Queen's person, although they insisted that they loved and honoured her, and only wished to rid her of evil councillors.
After his conviction, Essex, at his own request, had an interview in the Tower with the Lord Keeper and other ministers of the Queen, and asking pardon of him for having imprisoned him, took a tender leave of him, and thanked him for all his kindness. The unhappy youth might still have been saved by the good offices of Egerton and other friends, and the inextinguishable regard which lurked in the royal bosom, if the Queen had not waited in vain for the token of his true repentance which he had intrusted to the false Countess of Nottingham, and which being at last produced gave such agony to the last hours of Elizabeth.
In the meanwhile her grief was somewhat assuaged by appointing the Lord Keeper, under a Commission, to summon all who had been implicated in Essex's plot, in order to treat and compound with them for the redemption of their estates, and the Exchequer
* Nevertheless they appear to have been sworn. Camden says, “ Summus Ang. lie Justitiarius Pophamus rogatus et juratus quam indigne Consillarii habiti fuerunt.”—Camd Eliz. vol. ii. p. 231.
+1 St Tr. 1340. The prisoner spoke of them with great respect. “Essexius respondet se in honoratissimos illos viros nihil mali cogitasse at summo cum honore observasse."--Camd. Eliz, vol. ii. p. 231.
was filled by the fines imposed upon them as the condition of their pardon.*
We must now look back to the events which were happening to the Lord Keeper in domestic life. In January 1599, he had the misfortune to lose Lady Egerton, his second wife, to whom he was most affectionately attachedt; and when he was beginning to recover his composure, he received the sad news of the death of his eldest son in Ireland, a very fine young man, who had been struck with a passion for military glory, and was serving under the Earl of Essex.
However, in the following year, he comforted himself by marry. ing his third wife, the Countess Dowager of Derby, celebrated in her youth by Spenser, under the name of Amaryllis, and after. wards the patroness of the early genius of Milton, who wrote his Arcades for her amusement.
CONTINUATION OF LIFE OF LORD ELLESMERE TILL THE END OF THE
REIGN OF ELIZABETH.
We have seen that when Egerton was intrusted with the custody
of the Great Seal, he still retained his former office [A. D. 1601.]
D. 1001.) in the Court of Chancery. In the first instance, it was intended that this arrangement should only be temporary; and
* Rym. F. tom. xvi. 421.
† " My Lady Egerton died upon Monday morning : the Lord Keeper doth sorrow more than the wisdome of so great a man ought to doe. He keapes privat, hath desired Judge Gawdy to sit in Chancery, and it is thought that he will not came abroad this terme.”—Letter from Rowland Whyte, Esq. to Sir Robert Sydney, 24th January, 1599. Sydney Papers, vol. ii. p. 164.
I His father had wished to brced him to the law, but consented at last to his becoming a soldier.
"I wysh my sonne woulde have gyven hym selfe to have attended these things, but his mynde draweth hym an other course to follow the warre, and to attende My L. of Essex into Irelande, and in this he is so farre engaged that I can not staye him, but must leave hym to his wille, and praye to God to guide and bless him."-Letter of Lord Keeper to his brother-in-law, dated 6th March, 1598, Ellesinere MS,
Letters of condolence on his son's death poured in from all quarters. I give as a specimen one from George More of Losley :-.“ Yt was the providens of God that your sonne was borne; so was it that he died: he was your's but for a terme of his life, whereof the thred once spunne could not be lengthened, and the dayes nombered one day cold not be added by all the worldes power. In his byrth as in his death was the hand of the Lord God; in the one for your comfort ; in the other for your tryall; in bothe for your good, if in bothe you glorifie God. What comfort greater can be than to have a sonne brought up in the feare of God, to spend the first and to the end the last of his strength in the favour and service of his Prince ?"-Ellesmere MS.
there were as might be expected, several aspirants to the Rolls. Among these the most pushing and importunate was Serjeant Heele, a lawyer of considerable vigour and capacity, who had raised himself to extensive practice, and amassed great wealth by very doubtful means. His promotion would have been exceedingly disagreeable to the Lord Keeper, who therefore wrote the following memorial that it might be submitted to the Queen.
“ The name and office of a delator ys odeous unto me; I abhorre yt in nature, and besydes yt fytteth not my place and condition: yet my duetye to my gracious Sovereign & countrye informeth me specallye being commanded to set down what I have hearde S. H. charged with,—that thereupon her Matie may make judgement how unfytt & unworthye this man ys for so worthye a place as he seketh.
.1.“ He is charged to have bene long a grypinge and excessive usurer. Agaynst such persons the Chancerye doeth gyve remedye, which yt is not lykelye he will doe, beinge hym self so great & so commen an offender in the same kynde.
2.," He is charged to have bene longe a most gredye & insatiable taker of excessive fees, and (which is moost odious) a notorious & common ambodexter, takinge fee on both sydes, to the great scandale of his place & profession.*
3.“ By these wycked vyle meanes he is growne' to great wealthe & lyely-hood, and therby puffed uppe to such extreme heyghte of pride, that he is insociable, and so insolent & outrageous in his words and behaviour towards such as he hath to deale with (though men much better then hym selfe) as is too offensive & intollerable. As namelye, against the Byshoppe of Excester, Sir Richard Champeron, Sir Edmunde Morgan, Mr. Benjamin Tychbourne, and many others.
4. “ He is noted to be a great drunkarde, and in him drunkennesse not onlye to have commonly used qarrelynge and braw. lenge, words, but sometymes blowes also; and that at a common ordynarye, a vice ille beseeminge a Serjeant, but in a Judge or publicke Magistrate intollerable.”
The Serjeant persisting in his suit, the Lord Keeper outwardly kept on good terms with him found it convenient to pretend to
* In the middle of the last century such practices at the bar were still suspected, there being on the stage “Mr. Serjeant Eitherside," and in Westminster Hall “Sir Bullface Doublefee.”
† Among Lord Ellesmere's papers there is a daught of this memorial in his own handwriting, with the following introduction, which upon consideration he had omitted : "I see myne error in presumynge ihat my services had deserved this favour 'to have a socyable person placed so neare me, yf there were none other respecte. But sythence I must open the gate to let in another, I never suspected that I shoulde be constrayned to lett in anye agaynst my lykinge and opinion.
"I accuse and bewayle myne owne mishappe, that my 20 yeares services waye so light that Serj. H. and his purse should be put in balance against me,-a man of so insolent behaviour and indiscreete carriage, and of so little worthe, and taxed with so manye enorm yous crymes and disorders in the course of his lyfe, as none of his profession hath these many yeres been noted of the lyke."
support him, and, strange to say, was all the while indebted to the “grypinge usurer, ambodexter, drunkarde, & hrawler” in the sum of 4001. for money lent. At last the Serjeant, finding that he was effectually thwarted by the superior influence of the Lord Keeper wrote him the following curious epistle :“ To the Right ho. the Lo. Keeper of the Greate Seale of England,
&c. . " It hath byne my spetiall desyre to have your Lo. holde a good opynion of me. I have dealte as became me in all things : what the cause of your sudden mislike with me is I can not gesse, for sure I am I have ever respected and dealte with you as it became me. You know how I came fyrst to intertaine the hope of the Rolls, and have followed your own directions.
“I fynde now that my hope, through your hard conceite against me, is desperate. I shall therefore praie your Lo. to delyver to this Bearer my Bandes, and, at your Lo. pleasure, to sende me the 4001. you owe me. I shall humblee entreate youe Lo. to use me as you doe the meanest of my Brothers. Thus resting humblie your's : from Serjeants Inne, the 14th of November, 1600.
“ Your Lp's in all humblenis,
* There is among Lord Ellesmere's papers, a letter to him from Sir Edward Coke indorsed, “ Ser. llele, Mr. Attorney," indicating that it originated from some intrigue betwcen these parties.
“Right honourable my singular good Lord,- Secrete inquirie have bene made whether your Lo. having not a patent (as all your predecessors had, Cardinall Woolsey excepted, who therefore (as they saye) ranne into a premupire), of the custody of the Greate Seale, be Lord Keeper or no. Howe rediculous this is, and yet bow maliceous, your Lo. knowes, and yet thoughe it be to noe purpose, vet my purpose is thereby to signifie a littlc parte of that greate dutie I owe unto your Lo., and that in your wisdomn you may make some use of it. And so resting ever to doe your Lo. any service with all thankful readines, I humblie take my leave this 25 of Jan.
“ Your Lo. humblie at commandment,
“Ed. COKE." From the Egerton Papersl published by the Camden Society, and very ally edited by Mr. Payne Collier, it appears that this Serjeant Heele afterwards had å suit before the Lord Keeper respecting a sum of money claimed by him from the executors of Lord Cobham, which, notwithstanding an attempt to make the King interfere in his favour, was determined against him, and that he thereupon wrote the following letter :** To the right honorable my very good Lo. the Lo. Ellesmere, Lo. Chancellor of
England. “Right Honorable, “I proteste unto God that ever synce I knewe you, I did truclie desyre your Lo. fryndslipp and favor. The contrary conceite hath disquieted me more than the order againste me. If you Lo. wiil be pleased to remove that opynion, I will acknowledge myselfe nioste bounde unto you. Thus with remembrance of my humble duotye,
“Your Lo. in all service,
"John LELE. “Serjeant's Inn, 5 Januarij, 1604."2 1 P. 391.
2 Egerton Papers, p. 399.