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Serjeant Heele then thought that he might undermine the Lord Keeper, and perhaps clutch the Great Seal instead of the Roll--by getting into parliament, 1
ht. [Nov. 7, 1601.] and slavishly outbidding the whole profession of the law for the Queen's favour. There being a strong opposition to the subsidy demanded by the Court, thus spoke the legal aspirant, now a representative of the people —" Mr. Speaker, I marvel much that the House will stand upon granting of a subsidy when all we have is her Majesty's, and she may lawfully, at her pleasure take it from us : yea, she hath as much right to all our lands and goods as to any revenue of her Crown.”* But, to the honour of the House, he was speedily coughed downt, and he confined himself to usury for the rest of his days.
This scene took place in Queen Elizabeth's last parliament. The opening of it was rather inauspicious. The
[Oct. 27, 1601.] Queen, though she still allowed herself to be flat- 1 tered for her beauty, was conscious of increasing infirmities, and had taken unusual pains to conceal them from the public gaze; but, after being seated on the throne, her enfeebled frame was unable to support the weight of the royal robes, and she was sinking to the ground, when a nobleman bearing the sword of state caught her in his arms, and supported her. The Commons were thien approaching ; but, in the confusion, the door by which they were to enter was shut, and they were all excluded.
The Lord Keeper however, that Elizabeth might as soon as possible get back into the open air, proceeded with his oration, ex: plaining the causes of the summons. He inveighed bitterly against the Pope and the King of Spain, whom he denounced as enemies to God, the Queen, and the peace of this kingdom, and engaged in a conspiracy to overthrow religion, and to reduce us to a tyrannical servitude. He charged them with attempts to poison the Queen. . “ I have seen her Majesty," said he, “wear at her girdle the price of her blood : I mean jewels which have been given to her physicians to have that done unto her which I hope God will ever keep from her.” He advised that no new laws should be made; but he exhorted them to make provision for our own defence and safety, seeing the King of Spain means to make England miserable, by beginning with Ireland and the territory of
* 1 Parl. Hist. 921.
† It distinctly appears that this wholesome parliamentary usage was then estah. lisheil. D'Ewes, after giving an account of the Serjcant's speech, thus describes the scene which followed : “ As which all the House hemmed, and laughed and talk. ed. " Well," quuih Serj tele, "all your hemminy shall not put me out of countenance.” So Mr. Speaker stood up and said, . It is a great disorder that this should be usril, for it is the uncient use of every mon to be silent when any one speaketh ; and he that is speuking slwuld be suffered to deliver his mind without interrupti n. So the Sérje:: nt procceded, and when he had spoken a little while. saying he could prove his former position by precedent in the times of Hen. II., King John, and King Stephen, the House hermed gaine, and so he sat down."-1 Parl, Hist. p. 922. King James seems to have taken his law from the Serjeant in his famous conversation with the Bishops.
the Queen herself. He showed that treasure must be our means, as treasure is the sinews of war.*
Three days after, the Queen again appeared in the House of Lords, and the Commons presented as their Speaker, Crook, recorder of Londont, who, when his disqualification had been overruled by the Lord Keeper, delivered a florid harangue on the peace and prosperous state of the kingdom, which he said had been defended by the mighty arm of our dread and sacred Queen, -when she interrupted him piously and gracefully with these impressive words, “ No, MR. SPEAKER, BUT BY THE MIGHTY HAND OF GOD!"
When he prayed for freedom of speech, the Lord Keeper said, “ Her Majesty willingly consenteth thereto with this caution, that the time be not spent in idle and vain matter, with froth and volubility of words, whereby the Speakers may seem to gain some reputed credit by emboldening themselves to contradiction, and by troubling the House of purpose with long and vain orations to hinder the proceeding in matters of greater and more weighty importance.”
The first act of the Commons after the choice of a Speaker was to complain bitterly of breach of privilege, in being shut out from the House of Lords the first day of the session,-saying they were yet in ignorance of the causes of calling the parliament. Mr. Secretary Cecil having excused the Lord Keeper,—repeated to them the heads of his speech, and they were appeased.
Notwithstanding the exhortation against any new legislation, there was passed in this session the famous Poor Law of fortythird Elizabeth, with several other important statutes still in force, -and a liberal subsidy being granted in return for the abolition of monopolies, the Queen being seated on the throne in the House of Lords, the Lord Keeper, “with what brevity he might—not to be tedious to his most gracious Sovereign,” returned thanks in her name, and said, “ We all know she never was a greedy grasper, nor straight-handed keeper, and therefore she commanded me to tell you that you have done (and so she taketh it) dutifully, plentifully, and thankfully.”+ He then dissolved the parliament, and Elizabeth was never again seen by the public with the Crown on her head. In the following year, however, she paid the Lord Keeper a
309, visit of three days at Harefield, his country house, in [A. D. 1602.) Mi
D. 100Middlesex, near Uxbridge. This delightful place, with the river Colne running through the grounds, was first made by a distinguished lawyer, Lord Chief Justice Anderson, from whom it was purchased by the Lord Keeper, and it afterwards gained higher celebrity than could be conferred upon it by a royal visit. Horton, the country-house of Milton's father, where the divine poet wrote some of his most exquisite pieces, was in the neighbourhood, a little lower down the stream*,—and hence the connection between him and the Egerton family, which led to the composition of the ARCADES and of COMUS. The former masque, in which the widow of the Lord Keeper is so much complimentedt, was written to be performed here.
* i Parl. Hist. 906. # 1 Parl, Hist. 908.
1 Ibid. 907.
At this visit of Queen Elizabeth to Harefield, Milton was yet unborn, and no inspired bard wrote a piece for the occasion; but the Lord Keeper did his utmost in all respects for the entertainment of his royal guest, although the weather was most unpropitious, and the hunting and falconry which had been projected were impracticable. A constant succession of in-door amusements made the three days pass off very agreeably. Shakspeare had lately brought out his immortal tragedy of OTHELLO, and the Queen had not seen it played. Accordingly, Burbidge's company were sent for, and a theatre being fitted up in the hall, for which little scenery was then required, the piece was admirably performed by the original actors, whose rehearsal of their parts had been superintended by the author. Succeeding so much better as a writer than an actor, he himself had now almost entirely withdrawn from the stage, and if he was present it was probably only to assist Burbidge in the management of the entertainments.I
The less intellectual shows of dancing and vaulting were likewise exhibited for her Majesty's amusement, and a LOTTERY was drawn, with quaint devices, perhaps composed by Ben Jonson, who was the great deviser of amusements for the Court in this
* Milton describes this scenery in the Epitaph. Damon.
“Imus ? et arguta paulum recubamus in umbra,
“Here you shall have greater grace
Such a rural Queen,
All Arcadia hath not seen.” Some crities have supposed that Othello was not produced till 1604, and Dr. Warburton postpones it to 1611; but there can be no doubt that it came out in 1602, and that it was acted before Elizabeth at Laretiçld. In the Egeriun l'apers, pulilished by the Camden Society, are 10 be found the accounts of the Lord kcopcr's disbursements for the visit, containing the following items :
“Rewardes to the vaulters, players, and dauncers. Of this, xl. to BURRIDGE's players: for OTHELLO, Ixiiji. xviijs. xd. Rewarde 10 Mr Lillyc's man, which brought the lusterye boxe to Haretield, x!.”
These accounts are exceedingly in!cresting, and give great insight into the man. ners of the times. In the same collection, there is an equally curious account of the presents of " oxen, muttons, bucks, swans, capons, fish, game, becscs, fruil, and sweetmcats," which the Lord Keeper received on this occasion from the Lurul I reasurer, the Lord Mayor of London, and near a hundred other friends. Ainong the contributions is a buck from Sir Thomas Lucy, son of the Sir Thomas who hau pru. secured Shakspeare for dcer-stealing. Sir George Moor sends," slagsc, 1; lobsters, 17 ; prawns, 200; Trouts, 19; breames, 5; pheasantes, 12; partrid.es, 14 ; quailes, 2 duzen; swanncs, 4; Salsie cockles, 8 cwt. ; puellas, 2 dozen; gulles, 6; puilcis, 2 dozen ; pygeuns, 2 dozen;" the whole valued only at 20s. The Lord Mayor was very liberal with bis “sacke, sturgeon, herons, gulls, peralles, parterages, semondes, and phesantes.” Lord Norres, besides bucks, sends 2 oxen. The quantity of “prescrved apricox, preserved siterans, marmallet, sugirloves, and Bumbury cakes," is quite enormous.
and the following reign. I give a sample of the Prizes and Blanks.
“ A Looking-glasse.
" A Hand-kerchiefe.
i A Paire of Garters.
For nothing is more precious than gold."* At her Majesty's departure there was a somewhat clumsy pageant, which I think must have been the invention of the Lord Keeper himself. HAREFIELD was personified, and, attired as a disconsolate widow in sables, thus bade the Queen farewell:
“ Sweete Majestie!
“ Be pleased to looke upon a poore widdowe, mourning before Your Grace. I am this place which at your coming was full of joye, but nowe at your departure am as full of sorrowe; as I was then, for my comforte, accompanyed with the present cheerful Tyme, but nowe he must depart with You, and blessed as he is must ever flye before you. But alasse! I have no wings as Tyme hath, my heaviness is such as I must staye, still amazed to see so greate happiness to some, berefte me. O that I could remove with You as other circumstances can! Tyme can goe with You; Persons can goe with You: they can move like Heaven; but I like dull Earthe, as I am indeed, must staye immoveable. I could wishe my selfe like the inchanted castle of love, to hould you here for ever, but Your vertues would dissolve all my enchantments. Then what remedie? as it is against the nature of an angell to be circumscribed in place, so it is against the nature of place to have the motion of an angell. I must staye forsaken and desolate; You may goe, with Majestic joye and glorie. My onely suite before you go, is that You will pardon the close imprisonment which You have suffered ever since your coming: imputing it not to me, but to St. Swithen, whoe of late hath raised so many stormes as I was faine to provide this anchor for you (presenting the Queen with an anchor jewel) when I understoode You would put into this creeke; but nowe since I perceave the harbour is too little for you, and that you will hoiste saile and begon, I beseech You take this anchor with You, and I praye to Him that made both tyme and place, that in all places wherever You shall arrive, You may
* Nich. Prog. vol. iii.
anchor as safely as You doe and ever shall doe, in the harts of my Owners.”*
The Lord Keeper had now the merit of introducing a practical mitigation of the extreme severity of the penal code. Robbery and theft where clergy could not be effectually prayed, as in the case of illiterate persons and of the female sex, were actually capital crimes, and after conviction the law was invariably allowed to take its course, notwithstanding any circumstances of mitigation. The consequence was, that in the reign of Henry VIII. there were 72,000 executions; and notwithstanding the improvement in police and manners, in the end of the reign of Elizabeth forty felons a year were hanged in the single county of Somerset. A commission was now issued, with the Lord Keeper at the head of it, authorising the Commissioners to reprieve all such persons convicted of felony as they should think convenient, and to send them to serve for a certain time in the Queen's galleys as a commutation of their sentence. Transportation to the colonies was the improvement of a succeeding reign.
Another commission was issued which had the aspect of severity. By this the Lord Keeper and others were required to summon before them all Jesuits and Seminary Priests, whether they were in prison or at large, and, without observing any of the usual forms of trial, to send them into banishment, under such conditions and limitations as might be thought convenient.† The object, however, was to draw the execution of the laws against the Catholic religion from the ordinary tribunals, where they were enforced with relentless rigour,—and these novel proceedings, though they seemed to be dictated by a spirit of persecution, were hailed by many as a new era of toleration. The prospect of a popish successor, and the dread of the 14. D.
i [A. D. 1603.] introduction of the inquisition by Spanish subjugation, had reconciled the nation to measures of cruelty of which they were beginning to be ashamed,-since the succession of the Protestant James was considered to be certain, and Spain, effectually humbled, had been compelled to sue for peace.
The Catholics prepared an address of thanks to the Queen, who had been driven to persecute them from policy rather than any violent horror of their faith,—to which she had once conformed, and which she still greatly preferred to puritanism ;—but before it could be presented she was beyond the reach of human censure or praise.
During her last illness, the Lord Keeper, with the Lord Admiral and Secretary Cecil, remained at Richmond to watch the liour of her dissolution, while the other Councillors were stationed at Whitehall to preserve the public tranquillity, and to prepare measures for the peaceable accession of the new Sovereign. When
* Talbot Papers, vol. iv, 43. In a petition to the crown for a grant of lards in the next reign, he estimated the expense to which he was put by this visit at 2000l.
* Rym. F. xiv. 473. 476. 489.