« PreviousContinue »
the cause, through the influence of the DowagerCountess of Leicester (formerly Countess of Essex) was moved into the Star-Chamber, where the King arbitrarily put an end to it, ordering the examinations of the witnesses to be locked up.
This act of injustice determined Sir Robert Dudley, one of the most accomplished* gentlemen of his age, to leave his native country. He, accordingly, obtained a licence to travel for three years; but upon the death of his uncle, the Earl of Warwick, assuming his title abroad against the will of King James, he was ordered home; and not thinking it prudent to comply, his estate was confiscated to the crown.
Upon this reverse of fortune, he retired to Florence, where he was kindly received by Cosmo II., Great Duke of Tuscany, and for his eminent services to the manufactures and commerce of that country, in 1620 created by the Emperor a Duke of the Holy Roman Empire, upon which he assumed his grandfather's title as Duke of Northumberland. He died at his country-seat near Florence in 1639, leaving behind him a distinguished character for his skill in philosophy, chemistry, and medicine, and in the means of applying them for the benefit of mankind.
He was, likewise, an author of some repute; and
*The Dudley family, for three descents, had furnished men of great abilities; but this reputed base' son, in learning, especially in the useful part of mathematics, surpassed them all. In the last years of Elizabeth, indeed, he had fitted out some vessels, and made some valuable discoveries in navigation: he also took, and destroyed, nine sail of Spanish ships; and he behaved so gallantly at the siege of Calais, that the Queen conferred upon him the honour of knighthood: but he certainly did not receive the encouragement, which he appears to have merit✩ ed, either in her reign, or in that of her successor.
his principal work, entitled, Del Arcano del Mare, &c. printed at Florence in 1630, and again in 1646, in two volumes folio, is highly valuable. His powerful sudorific was long known under the name of, The Earl of Warwick's Powder.'
SIR FRANCIS WALSINGHAM,
SECRETARY OF STATE TO QUEEN ELIZABETH.*
FRANCIS WALSINGHAM, descended of an ancient and good family, was born at Chislehurst, about the year 1536. After he had spent some time at King's College, Cambridge, his friends sent him to travel in foreign countries, while he was extremely young; and to this happy circumstance it was owing, that he remained abroad during the administration of Queen Mary, to whose bloody bigotry he might otherwise, for his declared attachment to the reformed religion, have fallen a victim.
A genius for political investigation† directed his
* AUTHORITIES. Camden's Annals of Queen Elizabeth; Lloyd's State-Worthies; Melvil's Memoirs; and Biographia Britannica.
+ Lloyd, in his State-Worthies,' observes, " His head was so strong, that he could look into the depth of men and business, and dive into the whirlpools of state. Dexterous he was in finding a secret, close in keeping it: much he had got by study, more by travel, which enlarged and actuated his thoughts. His conversation was insinuating and reserved: he saw every man, and none saw him. His spirit was as public as his parts; and it was his first maxim, 'Knowledge is never too dear:' yet as debonnair, as he was prudent; and, as obliging to the softer predomi
attention in early life to the study of the forms of government, the manners, and the customs of the different nations of Europe; and of these he acquired such an extensive knowledge, that upon his return to England, in the reign of Elizabeth, his abilities recommended him to Sir William Cecil, by whom he was employed in some of the most important affairs of state. The first of his public functions was an embassy to France, where he resided several years during the heat of the civil wars in that kingdom. In August, 1570, he was sent thither to negotiate a marriage between his royal mistress and the Duke of Alençon, with other matters of the highest consequence; and he continued there till April, 1573, sparing neither pains nor expense to promote to the utmost the Queen's service.* Upon his return to England, he
nant parts of the world, as he was serviceable to the more severe; and no less dexterous to work on humour, than to convince reason. He would say, 'he must observe the joints and flexures of affairs;' and so would do more with a story, than others' could with an harangue. He always surprised business, and preferred motions in the heat of other diversions; and, if he must debate it, he would hear all: and with the advantage of the foregoing speeches, that either cautioned or confirmed his resolutions, he carried all before him in conclusion, beyond reply. This Spanish proverb was familiar with him, Tell a lie, and find a truth;' and this, 'Speak no more than you may safely retreat from without danger, or fairly go through without opposition.' Some are good only at some affairs in their own acquaintance; Walsingham was ready every where, and could make a party in Rome as well as England. He waited on men's souls with his eye, discerning their secret hearts through their transparent faces."
"In this negociation," remarks De Wicquefort, "the interest of the Reformed, wherewith he was charged, was a very nice affair; and he had to deal with Charles IX. and his mother, the most suspicious and treacherous of princes: notwithstanding
was appointed one of the principal Secretaries of State; and soon afterward, on the promotion of his constant friend and patron Sir William Cecil to the peerage, he received the honour of knighthood. From the death of Sir Thomas Smith indeed, the senior Secretary, which happened in 1577, Sir Francis may be considered as second in the administration of public affairs, and the firm supporter of Burghley's power against that of Leicester and his party.
In that place of trust, he absolutely devoted himself, his life, his time, and his estate to the service of his Queen and country; and to compass his ends, he guided himself by such maxims as these, recorded by Lloyd in his State-Worthies: ' "A habit of secrecy is policy and virtue." To him "men's faces spoke as much as their tongues, and their countenances were indexes of their hearts." He would so beset men with questions, and draw them on, and pick it out of them by piece-meals, that they discovered themselves whether they answered, or were silent. He served himself of the factions at court, as the Queen his mistress did, neither advancing one, nor depressing another: familiar with Cecil, allied to Leicester, and an oracle to Sussex. He could overthrow any matter by undertaking it, and move it so as it must fall. He never broke any
which, he acquitted himself with great honour. To which it can be no exception, that he did not suspect the court of France's perfidiousness: being himself an honest man, he could never imagine that so black a villainy could enter into man's heart, as the Massacre of Paris, executed by order of the despicable Charles IX. From our embassador's letters it appeared, that his expenses were so immense, very probably in gaining intelligence, that (to use his own words) sometimes he had neither furniture, money, nor credit.”