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terms. By this circumstance, however, he was eventually reclaimed: for being one day insolently kept waiting at the house of an alderman of London, who had advanced him great sums, in order to escape similar insults in future he became an economist; and the Queen receiving him into particular favour, * he was shortly afterward enabled to extricate himself from all his difficulties.
In 1571, he was sent Embassador to Charles IX. King of France, to congratulate that Monarch upon his union with the daughter of the Emperor Maximilian, and to negotiate at the same time a treaty of marriage between the Duke of Anjou and his own Sovereign. In 1586, being then of her Majesty's cabinet-council, he was appointed one of the Commissioners for the trial of Mary Queen of Scots; and when the parliament had confirmed the sentence of death passed upon that princess, he was selected to inform her of it, and to see it carried into execution.
In 1587, Elizabeth despatched him as her Embassador Extraordinary, to settle the disputes which had arisen between the United Provinces and the Earl of Leicester; and with his management of this delicate trust the States-General expressed themselves highly satisfied. Lord Leicester however, refusing to submit to his prudent compromise, appealed to the Queen, who not only recalled her envoy, but confined him to his house nearly a twelve-month; and it was not till the death of that powerful nobleman, that he was restored to favour, and advanced
* Not only his merit, but his affinity, recommended him to Elizabeth, his grandfather having married the sister of Sir Thomas Boleyn, the Queen's maternal grandfather.
to new honours. In 1590, he was made a Knight of the Garter; and the following year, by Elizabeth's express recommendation, in opposition to Essex (the object of her capricious passion) elected Chancellor of Oxford; upon which occasion, as a mark of her royal approbation, she visited the University in 1592, and for inany days partook of the entertain. ments and banquets prepared for her by the new Chancellor.
In 1598, he was employed with Lord Burghley to negociate a peace with Spain, which so much alarmed the Dutch, that they sent embassadors to England to renew with her their treaties of alliance and commerce. But instead of listening to them, as he had formerly done when he thought the Earl of Leicester in the wrong, he proposed terms more advantageous for England, to which they readily acceded; among other stipulations, relieving the Queen from an annual subsidy of 120,0001., which she had paid them for many years to enable them to support their independency, after they had shaken off the Spanish yoke. On the death of Lord Burghley in 1598, Lord Buckhurst, whose economy extended also to the public purse, succeeded to the office of LordHigh-Treasurer; and from this time had, either singly or in conjunction with Sir Robert Cecil, almost the entire management of public affairs till the fourth year of the following reign.*
* During this interval, he negotiated, in conjunction with Essex and Sir Thomas Egerton, an alliance with Denmark; and when that unfortunate nobleman, with his friend Southampton, was brought to his trial, he presided as Lord High Steward.
As Elizabeth's health decayed, his constant correspondence with James VI. King of Scotland recommended him particularly to the favour of that monarch. In return for his assiduity, the new Sovereign granted him a patent to hold the office of LordTreasurer for life, and created him Earl of Dorset in the year 1604. He was, likewise, appointed one of the Commissioners for executing the office of EarlMarshal of England. And in these high stations he invariably devoted his abilities to promote the welfare of his country, and to support the Protestant interest both at home and abroad. His last service, in this respect, was exerted in the negociation of a peace between Spain and Holland; in which he secretly encouraged the Dutch to insist upon an acknowledgement of their independence, as an indispensable preliminary. But he did not live to see the treaty ratified; dying suddenly at the council-board in April, 1608.* The event, as the court swarmed with needy Scottish favourites, occasioned some slight suspicions concerning the cause of it; but, upon opening his head, his mortal disease was discovered to have been the hydrocephalus, or dropsy of the brain. He had perceived no extraordinary decay of health till the year before his death, when he was reduced so low, that his life was despaired of: upon which occasion the King sent him a gold ring set with diamonds, requiring him to wear it for his sake, and wishing he might speedily recover, and live as long as the diamonds of that ring should endure.'† His funeral
* The independence of the States, as acknowledged by Spain, was not proclaimed till 1609.
+ This instance of James' affection and confidence is to be
sermon was preached by his chaplain, Dr. Abbot (subsequently, Archbishop of Canterbury) who was very lavish in his praise.
accounted for upon principles of policy. Lord Buckhurst and Sir Robert Cecil held the reins of government, when Elizabeth's health began to decline: their influence with foreign states, and their known attachment to the Protestant interest, engaged him to court their favour at that period; and his fear of a revival of the claim of the Suffolk family, upon whom the crown had been settled by the last will of Henry VIII, in the event of his daughters Mary and Elizabeth dying without issue, obliged him to continue his attentions. But when these sage counsellors were no more, the Scottish feeling speedily acquired the predominancy, and the mis-named · Solomon” laid the foundation of a system, which ended in the ruin of his entire race.
The misfortunes of the Stuarts began, however, anterior to this period. They have been traced indeed, in an almost unbroken succession for nearly four centuries, from the time of Robert III. King of Scotland, who in 1423 broke his heart because his eldest son Robert was starved to death, and his younger (James) was made a captive, down to the present day.
That James, after having beheaded three of his nearest kindred was assassinated in 1437 by his uncle, who was tortured to death for it.
James II. perished, in 1460, by the bursting of a piece of ordnance.
In 1488, James III. Aying from the field of battle was thrown from his horse, and murthered in the cottage, into which he had been carried for assistance.
James IV. fell at Flodden in 1513.
James V. died of grief, in 1542, for the wilful destruction of his army in Solway Moss.
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, was assassinated.
Of James VI. (I. of England) the death, in 1625, has by many been imputed to poison.
In 1649 Charles I. was beheaded by his subjects.
The character given of Lord Buckhurst by Sir Robert Naunton does him great honour. He sents him as a scholar, whose elocution was much commended, but his writings more; as a statesman, of undoubted abilities; and as a courtier, who steered clear of the factions of the times.
Mr. Walpole finishes the portrait by remarking, that few first ministers have left so fair a reputation.
James II. in 1689 was cashiered, and languished out his life in exile.
Anne (for Mary forms, almost, the solitary exception) died in 1714 of a broken heart, occasioned by the feuds of her favourites.
And the posterity of this devoted line, after some desperate attempts at restoration, which only ended in their own personal dangers, the total dismay of their party, and the disastrous destruction of their more distinguished adherents, have remained wretched wanderers in foreign lands.
The fate of the successors of Charlemagne furnishes no very unequal parallel.
His son, Louis the Debonair, from a superstitious panic, died for want of food : Charles the Bald was poisoned by his physician: Louis the Stammerer, also, perished by the same fate : his brother, the King of Aquitaine, was mortally wounded on the head by one of his nobles, whom he was endeavouring to terrify in disguise ; and his successor Louis III., pursuing in the streets of Tours a young woman whose beauty had charmed him, broke his back as he rode under the arch of a gateway. Carloman, like our own Rufus, fell by an ill-directed spear, thrown at a wild boar. Charles the Fat was the victim of want, grief, and poison united. Charles the Simple died, in prison, of hunger and despair. Louis the Stranger was bruised to death in hunting: and Lothaire and Louis V., the two last kings of the race, were both poisoned by their adulterous wives.
At the end of the 230 years, there remained only Charles, Duke of Lorraine, who sunk beneath the fortune of the ambitious and active Hugh Capet, and ended his days and his line in the walls of a dungeon.