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business, yet carried many: he could discourse any matter with them that most opposed; so that they, in opposing it, promoted it. His fetches and compass to his designed speech were things of great patience and use.So patient was this wise man, that his native place never saw him angry, the university never passionate, and the court never discomposed. Religion was, in his judgement, the interest of his country, and it was the delight of his soul; therefore he maintained it as sincerely as he professed it: it had his head, his heart, and his purse. He laid the great foundation of the Protestant constitution, as to it's policy, and the main plot against the Popish as to it's ruin.
In this capacity we are told, that he maintained no fewer than fifty-three agents in foreign courts, and eighteen spies; by means of whom he undermined all the plots of the private as well as public enemies of his pation. “He outdid the Jesuits,” says Lloyd, “ in their own bow, and over-reached them in their own equivocations and mental reservations; never settling a lie, but warily drawing out and discovering truth.” So good was his intelligence, that he was confessor to most of the Papists before their death, as they had been to their brethren before their treasons.-For two pistoles an order, he had all the private papers of Europe. Bellarmine read his lectures at Rome one month, and Reynolds had them to confute the next. Few letters escaped his hands, whose contents he could read, and not touch the seals. He had the wonderful art of weaving plots, in which busy people were so entangled that they could never escape, but were sometimes spared upon submission, at others hanged for example. He would cherish a plot some years together, admitting the conspirators to his own and the Queen's presence familiarly, but dogging them out watchfully : his spies waited on some men every hour for three years; and, lest they could not keep counsel, he despatched them to foreign parts, taking in new servants.*
In 1578 this experienced statesman was sent over to Holland, to assist at the congress held by the Protestant states of Holland, Zealand, Friesland, and Utrecht: and by his political talents and influence materially contributed to the formation of an alliance
* Welwood gives a remarkable instance of Sir Francis' dexterity, in instructing his spies how to get him intelligence of the most secret affairs of princes. 6. The court of Queen Elizabeth (says he) had reason to have an eye upon the King of Scots, as being next heir to the crown, and who they knew was courted with all possible insinuations into the French interest. In order to fathom King James' intentions, there was one Wigmore sent to Scotland, who pretending to be disobliged in England, fled thither for protection. Sir Francis Walsingham gives him about ten sheets of paper of instructions, all written with his own hand, so distinct and so digested, as a man of far inferior parts to Wigmore could hardly fail to be a master in his trade. In these papers he instructs him, how to find out King James' natural temper; his morals, his religion, his opinion of marriage; his inclinations to Queen Elizabeth, to France, to Spain, to the Hollanders, and, in short, to all his neighbours.' He likewise directs him how to behave himself toward the King, at table; when a-hunting; upon his receiving good or bad news; at his going to bed; and indeed all the public and private scenes of his life.' In this man Walsingham was not mistaken; for, though there passed a constant correspondence between them, Wigmore lived in the greatest familiarity with Ki James for nine or ten years together, without the least suspicion of his being a spy."
formed in the beginning of the following year, under the title of The Union of Utrecht,' which had been the object of his commission.
Upon his return, he was consulted by the Queen and Cecil on the conditions of the proposed marriage between her Majesty and the Duke of Anjou; and, in 1581, revisited the court of France as embassador for the third time: but Henry III. rejecting the proposals, the embassy proved unsuccessful.
Upon every occasion indeed, where address and sagacity were requisite, Walsingham was sure to be employed. As soon, therefore, as Elizabeth received intelligence that the young King of Scotland (afterward James I. of England) had made the Earl of Arran his chief confidant, the subtile Englishman was despatched to Edinburgh to endeavour to displace the new favourite; or, if that could not be effected, to form a party at court and in the kingdom against him. The latter object he accomplished, and at the same time obtained for his royal employer by his penetration and discernment the real character of James. He was deceived however, as we are assured by Hume, upon this occasion, entertaining higher ideas of James' talents for public business than they merited. But this does not impeach the judgement of the envoy. At the time of his arrival in Scotland, and during his residence there, he was in a very infirm state of health. In this situation James, who knew his fame as a man of letters, engaged him chiefly in conversations, which tended to display his own scholastic learning; "and Walsingham,” says Lloyd, “ fitted the humour of the King by passages out of Xenophon, Thucydides, Plutarch, or Tacitus.” In such literary conferences the young Monarch took great delight, and generally exerted himself with considerable success: so that from his critical knowledge of ancient history, and other branches of science, the accredited spy was apparently warranted to draw a conclusion, that he would not prove so miserably deficient, as he subsequently proved to be, in the application of his knowledge to practice.
In 1586, by his peculiar sagacity he unravelled the whole plot of Babington, and others, against the life of the Queen.
Soon after this, he was appointed one of the Commissioners for the trial of the Queen of Scots.
In the course of this process, he was charged by the royal prisoner with having counterfeited her cyphers, and with practising against her life and that of her son.* Upon which, rising from his seat with extreme
* This injurious opinion is grounded upon a joint letter of Sir Francis and Secretary Davison to Sir Amias Poulet, said to be found among Sir Amias' writings; but it is not mentioned when, and by whom; though it is now lodged in the Harleian Library, with Poulet's answer.
• After our hearty commendations, we find, by a speech lately uttered by her Majesty, that she doth note in you both (viz. Sir Amias Poulet, and Sir Drue Drury) a lack of that care and zeal for her service, that she looketh for at your hands; in that you have not in all this time (of yourselves, without other provocation) found out some way to shorten the that Queen [so in the MS.), considering the great peril she is hourly subject to, so long as the said Queen shall live. Wherein, beside a kind of lack of love toward her, she noteth greatly that you have not that care of your own particular safeties, or rather of the preservation of religion and the public good and prosperity of your country, that reason and policy commandeth ; especially having so good a warrant and ground
earnestness, he protested that his heart was free from all malice against her, and called God to witness, that in his private character he had never done any thing unbecoming an honest man, nor in his public capacity
for the satisfaction of your consciences toward God, and the discharge of your credit and reputation toward the world, as the oath of the association, which you have both so solemnly taken and vowed; especially the matter, wherewith she standeth charged, being so clearly and manifestly proved against her: and therefore she taketh it most unkindly, that men, professing that love toward her that you do, should in a kind of sort, for lack of the discharge of your duty, cast the burthen upon her; knows ing as you do, her indisposition to shed blood, especially of one of that sex and quality, and so near to her in blood as the said Queen is. These respects we find do greatly trouble her Majesty, who we assure you hath sundry times protested, that if the regard of the danger of her good subjects and faithful servants did not more move her than her own peril, she would never be drawn to assent of the shedding of her blood. We thought it very meet to acquaint you with these speeches, lately passed from her Majesty, referring the same of your good judgement; and so we commit you to the protection of the Almighty.
• Your most assured friends,
• FRANCIS WALSINGHAM,
« WILLIAM DAVISON. • At London, 1st Feb. 1586.'
Secretary Davison, in a letter of the same date, is said to have this passage:
:'I pray you, let both this and the inclosed be committed to the fire; which measure shall be likewise mėt to your answer, after it hath been communicated to her Majesty for her satisfaction.'
In a letter from Mr.Secretary Davison, of the third of February, 1586, we are told there is this postscript: • I entreated you
in my last letters to burn both the letters sent unto you, for the arguments' sake, which by your answer to Mr. Secretary (which I have seen) appeareth not to be done. I pray you let me entreat you to make heretics both of the one and the other, as I mean to use yours after her Majesty hath seen it.' And, in the end of the postscript— I have done with my letters, because they are