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In recompense for this charm, he received from the Queen a very tender epistle, which revived his romantic passion to its pristine fervour, and he is again her "Lyds" and her " Sheep."
"TO THE QUEEN'S MOST ROYAL MAJESTY.
"The gracious assurance which your Highness's grave letters rq - ,fiA i do most liberally give me of your singular favour
L '* and inestimable goodness, I have received on my
knees with such reverence as becometh your most obliged bondman; and with like humility, in my most dutiful and grateful manner, I do offer in God's presence myself, my life, and all that I am or is me, to be disposed to the end, and my death to do your service, in inviolable faith and sincerity.
"The cunning of your Highness' style of writing, with the conveyance of your rare sentence and matter, is exceedingly to be liked of; but the subject which it hath pleased your Majesty to endite for my particular, exceedeth all the eloquence, yea, all the eloquence of the world. Your words are sweet, your heart is full of rare and royal faith: the writing of your fair hand, directed by youi constant and sacred heart, do raise in me joy unspeakable. Would God they did not rather puff up my dejected spirits with too much pride and hope. I most humbly thank God for these admirable gifts in your Majesty; they exceed and abound towards your Highness unequally in the measure of His graces amongst men, so far as, God knoweth, there is not your like. I crave most humbly your gracious favour and pardon for the offence I have made you. Frogs, near the friends where I then was, are much more plentiful, and of less value, than their fish is: and because I knew that poor beast seasonable in your sight, I therefore blindly entered into that presumption, but Misericordia tua super omnia opera tua.
"God bless your Highness in all your kingly affairs, and direct them through your wonted wisdom in that course that shall EveR succeed to your comfort. I find the gracious sign of your letters of most joyful signification, and the abbreviation of delays will breed a much more delightful hope in that great cause.* Against love and ambition your Highness hath holden a long war; they are the violent affections that encumber the hearts of men: but now, my most dear Sovereign, it is more than time to yield, or else this love will leave you in war and disquietness of yourself and estate, and the ambition of the world will be most maliciously bent to encumber your sweet quiet, and the happy peace of this most blessed Realm. I pray God bless your kingly resolutions whatEv<zR. . I trust your Highness will pardon this part of my presumption, because your little $ siphere hath proffered the occasion.
* These and other allusions in this letter are very obscure.
And so your highness' most humble Lydds, a thousand times more happy in that you vouchsafe them yours, than in that they cover and conserve the poor eyes, most lowly do leave you in your kingly seat in God's most holy protection. Your Majesty's Sheep and most bound vassal,
Hatton seems now to have enjoyed a great influence over the Queen, and to have lived very quietly for some years, often receiving letters from Bishops and Archbishops, as well as from lay courtiers, praying him to intercede with her Majesty in their behalf. However, he suffered such ill-usage from r, i ^«a l her again that he withdrew from Court to his house *- TKl' '-• at Holdenby in Northamptonshire, where he remained in great sorrow and perplexity many days. At last she took compassion upon him, and sent a kind message begging him to return. Thereupon he wrote her the following letter full of humility and contrition, yet showing a deep sense of her arbitrary and capricious demeanour :—
"On the knees of my heart, most dear and dread Sovereign Majesty, I beseech pardon and goodness at your r 1 ^. -,
princely hands. I fear I offend you in lack of at- *■ ''
tendance on your princely presence, wherein, before our God, frowardness and obstinacy of mind are as far from me as love and duty would hare them; but that the griefs and sorrows of my soul so oppress me as I cannot express unto you, and so entangle my spirits that they turn me out of myself, and thereby making me unfit to be seen of you, is the true cause that I forbear access. I most humbly thank your sacred Majesty for your two late recomfortations. Would God I had deserved your former goodness; for, God knoweth, your good favour hath not been ever, or at any time, evil employed on me your poor disconsolate wretch. I will leave all former protestations of merit or meanings; only I affirm, in the presence of God, that I have followed and loved the footsteps of your most princely person with all faith and sincerity, with a mind most single, and free from all ambition or any other private respects. And though, towards God and Kings, men cannot be free of faults, yet, wilfully or wittingly, He knoweth that made me, I never offended your most sacred Majesty. My negligence towards God, and too high presumptions towards your Majesty, have been sins worthily deserving more punishments than these. But, Madam, towards yourself leave not the causes of my presumptions unremembered; and, though you find them as unfit for me as unworthy of you, yet in their nature, of a good mind they are not hatefully to be despised. I humbly prostrate myself at your gracious feet, and do most heartily recognize that all God's punishments laid on me by your princely censure are taken by me with singular humility; wherein I stand as free from grudging of
* Autograph in the State Paper Office.
heart as I am full of intolerable and vain perplexity. God in Heaven bless your Royal Majesty with a long life, a joyful heart, a prosperous reign, and with Heaven at the last. Your Majesty's most lowly subject and most unworthy servant.
Hatton was next alarmed by the Queen's growing partiality for Sir Walter Raleigh; but when New Year's Day came round he sent her a true lover's knot, with bracelets and other presents. Sir Thomas Heneage, who had been the bearer of these tokens, greatly comforted him by stating that they had been much prized, and that his new rival was slighted:—
"Sir,—Your bracelets be embraced according to your worth, and the good-will of the sender, which is held of such great price as your true friend tells you, I think in my heart you have great cause to take most comfort in, for seldom in my life have I seen more hearty and noble affection expressed by her Majesty towards you than she showed upon this occasion, which will ask more leisure than is now left me particularly to let you know. The sum is, she thinks you faithfullest and of most worth, and thereafter will regard you: so she saith, so I hope, and so there is just cause. She told me she thought your absence as long as yourself did, and I 1^5 1 marveled that you came not. I let her Majesty
[a. D. .j kn0Wj understanding it by Varney, that you had no place here to rest yourself, which after standing and waiting you much needed; whereupon she grew very much displeased and would not believe that any should be placed in your lodging, but sending Mr. Darcy to understand the matter, found that Sir Wa. R. lay there, wherewith she grew more angry with my L. Chamberlain than I wished she had been, and used bitterness of speech against R., telling me before that she had rather see him hanged than equal him with you, or that the world should think she did so. Messengers bear no blame; and though you give me no thanks, I must tell you, that your Highness saith you are a knave for sending her such a thing and of that price, which you know she will not send back again; that is, the not* she most loves, and she thinks cannot be undone; but I keep the best to the last. This enclosed, which it pleased her to read to me, and I must be a record of, which if I might see surely performed, I should have one of my greatest desires upon earth; I speak it faithfully."
Hatton's hold of the Queen's heart was, in truth, considerably weakened; but he now gained her good opinion and friendship more than ever, by his exertions to free her from the dread which she entertained of Mary Queen of Scots. He began with a piece of hypocrisy, which, considering his notoriously profligate life, must have a little shocked the religious feelings of his audience, though no one present ventured to oppose him. Rising in his place in the House of Commons, and detailing the plots which
* " The true love knot."—Marginal note.
he alleged to be concocted against Elizabeth and the Protestant faith, he moved, "that besides the rendering of our most humble and loyal thanks to her Highness, we do, being now assembled, forthwith join our hearts and minds together in most humble and earnest prayer unto Almighty God for the long continuance of the most prosperous preservation of her Majesty, with most due and thankful acknowledgment of his infinite benefits and blessings poured upon this whole realm through the mediation of her Highness's ministry under him." This being carried unanimously, the gentleman of her Highness's Privy Chamber, acting the part of Chaplain to the House, pulled a form of supplication from his pocket to the above effect, and all the members present, dropping down on their knees with seeming devotion, joined with him in his litany.^
Pie was very active in passing through the House of Commons the bill under which Mary was to be tried.t
He sat on the bench as a commissioner at the preliminary trials of Babington, Savage, Ballard, Abington, Tilney, r^ i^«ri
and the other conspirators. Savage's confession be- ■- '-*
ing proved,—with a view to the use to be made of it as evidence against Mary, Lord Commissioner Hatton thus addressed him :— "Savage, I must ask thee one question: Was not all this willingly and voluntarily confessed by thyself without menacing, without torture, and without offer of any torture?" The poor wretch, in the the vain hope of mercy, eagerly replied, "Yes!"
Although the two Chief Justices, May and Anderson, and Chief Baron Manwood, were present, Hatton took the lead in the conduct of the trial; and when it was getting late in the evening observed, they should hardly he able to finish the business if they sat up all night, and ordered the Court to be adjourned till seven o'clock next morning. J
He then strongly urged Ballard to a full confession, saying to him, "O, Ballard, Ballard, what hast thou done? A sort of brave youths, endowed with good gifts, by thy inducements hast thou brought to their utter destruction and confusion." The young man exclaiming, "Howbeit, say what you will, I will say no more I" Hatton added, "Nay, Ballard, you must say more, and shall say more, for you must not commit high treasons and then huddle them up. But is this thy Religio Catholica? Nay, rather it is Diabolica."
He next took in hand Barnewell, another prisoner, administering to him this string of interrogatories. "O, Barneweli, Barneweli, didst not thou come to Richmond, and when her Majesty walked abroad, didst not thou there view her and all her company—what weapons they had, and how they walked alone? and didst traverse the ground, and thereupon coming back to London didst make relation to Babington, how it was a most easy matter to kill her Ma
* 1 Pari. Hist, 828. t 27 Eliz. c. 1. % 1 St. Tr. 1127. 1131.
jesty, and what thou hadst seen and done at the Court? Yes, I know thou didst so." Taking all this for confessed, he then, without being sworn, gives some evidence himself: "Nay, I can assure thee, moreover, and it is most true which I say, that her Majesty did know that thou didst come to that end, and she did see and mark thee how thou didst view her and her company; but had it been known to some there as well as unto her, thou hadst never brought news to Babington. Such is the magnanimity of our Sovereign, which God grant be not overmuch in not fearing such traitors as thou art."
The sentence on the prisoner was pronounced by Lord Chief Justice Anderson, but this was prefaced by "an excellent good speech from Sir Christopher Hatton, showing how, stirred up by wicked priests, the ministers of the Pope, they had conspired to murder the Queen's Majesty, to deliver the Queen of Scots"— (charges which were proved);—" to sack the city of London; to rob and destroy all the wealthy subjects of the realm; to kill divers of the Privy Council; to set fire to all the Queen's ships, and to clog all the great ordnance"—(charges unsupported by any evidence.) He concluded by pointing out the falsehood of a book recently printed at Rome, and made by the Papists, wherein they affirm that "the English Catholics who suffer for religion be lapped in bear-skins and bated to death with dogs."
But although he had very roughly refused a prisoner's request to have a pair of writing tables to set down what was alleged against him,—another, after sentence of death, praying that his debts might be satisfied out of his property, the Vice-Chamberlain good naturedly asked the amount; and being told that six angels would be sufficient, he said, "Then I promise thee it shall be paid."
He was next engaged in the very delicate task of interrogating Nau and Curie, Mary's secretaries, whose examinations were to be used as the chief evidence against their mistress. He was prepared for this by a letter from Burghley, saying "they wold yeld soewhat to confirm ther mystriss, if they war persuaded that themselves might scape, and the blow fall upon ther M". betwixt hir head and shoulders."* Most strangely, the original letter, supposed to establish Mary's complicity, was not shown to them, and "an abstract of the principal points of it" being read, they were required to say, upon oath, whether they could not recall these points to their recollection as having been contained in it.t
He was named as one of the Judges for the trial of the unhappy
j-0 n ^ 15861 Mary. While the proceedings against her
*■ CT* '. '■* were pushed forward at Fotheringay, he slept every night at Apthorpe, the seat of Sir Walter Mildmay, about
* Burghley to Hatton, Sept. 4, 1586,—a sportive anticipation of Mary's fate probably written to be shown to Elizabeth, t Ellis, iii. 5.